AS THE Cork players walked into their dressing room, many of them wept openly for having lost out on a Munster final place.
The hurt was also evident in the tone of their manager, John Considine. A one-point loss in the final game having gone unbeaten until then cost the minor hurlers their spot in the decider against Limerick.
“God, that defeat is tough to take, but the reality is that we had our chances and only managed 13 scores over the hour, but for young lads, travelling early morning for a game at noon sometimes can prove difficult,” said Considine.
He was philosophical about his team failing to reach the Munster final, despite leading the table going into this game.
“The reality is that the two teams we failed to win against are in the final, as we only drew with Limerick, and Clare done us, so that’s the reality we must live with today,” added Considine.
"Not taking scoring opportunities at this level can come back to haunt you," says Considine.
“We had lots of wides when we drew with Limerick and again today, and, in the end, there is a fine line between qualification and elimination and, sadly, we came out on the wrong end.”
The Cork stats read 15 wides and 13 frees against them, but the Cork boss was adamant his side came up against a very committed Clare.
“Clare have a system where they work it short and hand-pass it out of defence and it seems to have worked for them in this campaign.”
The disappointment may be harder to take for younger players in losing out on a Munster final, according to Considine, but lessons will, hopefully, be learned.
“It was a great experience for them, but the old adage that sometimes experience is brutal teacher and, hopefully, we will see some of these fine group of young men turning up for the Cork senior squad in the coming years.”
The mood in the Clare camp was one of elation, as manager, Fergal Lynch, praised his troops for how they closed out this game.
“To be honest, this is a very good Cork side and for my lads to come out on top is testament to the effort they put in from start to finish,” said Fergal Lynch.
“I think both sides deserve lots of credit for their sheer commitment and now we can look forward to a Munster final against Limerick.”