WHILE Cork manager Kieran Kingston would naturally have preferred a more straightforward victory for Cork in Westmeath, he was naturally pleased that his team were able to emerge on the right side of a battle in tough conditions.
“It was a difficult day, no question about it,” he said after the 3-12 to 1-14 success, “but it was the same for both teams.
“We always knew it was going to be a battle and that’s the way it turned out to be.
“We started well, we had the breeze in the first half, we were six points up but we lost Conor and we took the foot off the gas.
“In fairness to Westmeath, they battled well and at half-time we knew we were in a fight. When you stand out there and you see the pitch and the wind and the sleet, you expect that and that’s what happens at this time of year on these pitches and in these weather conditions.
“You’re going to have that but from our perspective we came up here to get two points and we got that.
“It was always going to be a battle out there and what was pleasing for me was that we showed great character in the second half against the breeze. We had to battle hard for the win and I’m delighted with the character shown because we were in a fight at half-time.”
However, Cork twice let six-point leads slip and Kingston admitted to a level of frustration that, at times, the team made life difficult for themselves.
“You would be,” he said.
“Conditions were tough, but I’m not using that as an excuse, they were the same for both sides.
“We could have pushed on a bit more and we made a lot of simple errors, you can’t blame the weather for all of those either.
“We found ourselves at half-time in a tight game, heading into a gale-force wind and we knew it would be a battle. All normal hurling skills go out the window, this is just a fight.”
After three rounds of fixtures, Cork have four points, with things finely poised ahead of the visit of Limerick next Sunday.
“We’ve two games left,” Kingston said, “and as I’ve said many times, each game in this league is difficult, irrespective of whether you’re home or away or who the opposition is.
“Westmeath have shown that in the games they’ve played to date, 14 men against Galway and beat Waterford in the second half recently.
“They’re a battling team, no question about that, and we knew that coming up. We were a little bit complacent after the start we got and we regrouped at half-time, we told the lads we were in a fight.”