ONE of John Meyler’s priorities at the outset of the year was to embellish the Cork hurling squad and to have a greater range of options available to him when the need arose.
Stephen McDonnell and Aidan Walsh were recalled to the squad, Rob Downey, Ger Millerick and Deccie Dalton came on board as well.
Erin’s Own’s Robbie O’Flynn is another of the younger generation starting to make an impact on proceedings and he was in from the start of the opening game against Tipperary when Bill Cooper was withdrawn before the throw-in because of injury.
He didn’t retain his place for the Limerick game. He’s seen as one for the future.
During a press briefing last week he reflected on the season and looked ahead to Saturday’s encounter with Waterford.
“The game in the Gaelic Grounds was a great match, everyone just had the right attitude really from the minute the whistle went.
“After the Tipperary game we just sat down for a minute. We all knew there were just a few things that we needed to tweak a bit from that performance and everybody learned from that and just showed up with the right attitude for the Limerick game.
“There was a bit of history there that kind of upped the game a bit more as well but overall we are happy enough with the way we played – now all we need to do is to keep that bar high and don’t go below it.”
Cork were more or less written off in advance of that game with Limerick after the loss to Tipp which was rather surprising given the close history between the counties.
“To be honest, I don’t think there is a puck of a ball between any of the teams in Munster as far as I am concerned.”
Was there a different attitude going up to play Limerick after the loss to Tipperary?
“There was really, but that was the kind of thing we needed to figure out.
“We thought we were ready for Tipperary too, the mindset was perfect and I felt that it was the same against Limerick but what there was against Limerick was an edge.
“There was something in the air. You could feel it coming up in the bus – everyone kind of knew what they had to do.”
The young Erin’s own player is fully aware of the difficulty in trying to nail down a starting place with a lot of players in the chase for those coveted spots.
“Definitely, and that is kind of helping the team to perform. There are 25 or 26 players that both the management and players know can come on and do the same job as the starting 15 and that gives you great confidence as a player out there to know that you can leave it all out there and the one that will come in behind you can do the same job.
“You still have to be smart in the effort though. Wing-forwards would obviously have to put in a massive workload compared to the full-forward or full-back line but that all depends on the game.
“You have to be intelligent in what you do and be smart about the runs you make and when you make them.
“The only thing that is really obvious to me is the competition for places is unreal. John (Meyler) has been really honest with everyone saying that ‘if you perform you will play’ and that culture is around the camp.
“Everyone realises now that if they do well they will be playing so that pushes everyone on.”
Waterford is the next step on the road.
“Coming in for the game with Waterford it would be easy to drop the bar and to take it easy in training after a win, getting complacent after a win, especially a big win against the All- Ireland champions.
“We know how good Waterford are and how tough they are to play against, and the assumption that this is down in our own place and everything is against Waterford is the trap that you could fall into.
“We have to keep a level head and realise how good they really are. Waterford are an excellent side with some great players and it is very difficult to play against them.
“It is all about taking it one day at a time. There is no looking to potential Munster finals or anything like that.
“Waterford are the next game and that is where our focus is right now."