'If we want to be classed as a top eight team we need to be more clincal'

'If we want to be classed as a top eight team we need to be more clincal'
Cork manager Ronan McCarthy, right, and selector Cian O'Neill. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

CORK manager Ronan McCarthy accepted that there was room for improvement from his team after a victory in Leitrim but the bottom line was that the Rebels had won a second straight game in Division 3.

“We’re delighted to have two more points on the board,” he said.

“They are always tough places to come away from, difficult pitch, difficult conditions, we were comfortable in the end. We were able to bring a lot of firepower off the bench to bring us home. My only criticism of the team is that we should have been further ahead at half-time.

“We had 1-7 on the board, 2-10 would have been a reasonable return for the chances we had. 

"We didn’t take the clear-cut goal chances we had again this week. They will come, we are creating the opportunities. All in all, a professional performance, we were never really in trouble and it is great to have the points on the board.”

In the first half, Leitrim goalkeeper Diarmuid McKiernan made three good saves to prevent Cork goals. While it was a positive that the Rebels were getting into such positions, McCarthy demanded execution.

“We were creating chances, but you must take them,” he said.

“We wanted to be classed as a top-eight team or a top-four team and if you are in that bracket, you must be clinical and ruthless when you have the opportunity. Look, we didn’t take them and they were really clear-cut chances.

“That said, we are not going to beat ourselves up about it either. We’ll keep working on it and just make sure we execute these opportunities when they come. 

"But overall, a positive performance against a well-drilled side who brought plenty of energy and plenty of work-rate. We always kept them at arm’s length for most of the game, so from that point of view, it was reasonably comfortable.

“We had 2-6 worth of chances in the first-half that, if we had taken 1-3 of those, it would have put us 2-10 to 0-3 up at half-time and then you are sitting very comfortably. Because they had the wind in the second half, it could have potentially become a very difficult game for us. 

"Thankfully, it didn’t happen. That said, we were very controlled in the second half which is a very pleasing aspect of the performance. We kept the ball, waited for the opportunities, kept probing, when the opportunities came, we tacked on our scores.”

Ultimately, they did the job and there was no complacency.

“On paper, yes we are a better and stronger team and everything else,” McCarthy said, “but the attitude has to be right, physically and mentally.

“We would have drilled that home during our team meeting before the game. This was about attitude, coming into a difficult venue and a difficult pitch, in very, very challenging weather conditions.

“If you weren’t up for the fight today, you were going to be found out very quickly. We were up for the fight. We matched them physically from the start and then as the game went on, we let our football do the talking.”

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