CORK CONSTITUTION coach Paul Barr is clearly a hard taskmaster who sets the bar high.
The PBC school-teacher was rightly chuffed with his side’s 49-17 destruction of All-Ireland League champions at Temple Hill on Saturday.
“This was the best we’ve seen this season. It’s the standard we’ve been aiming for most of the time,” he declared.
And yet when asked to grade the players’ performance, Barr proffered an 8.
“You’d have it to give it a good score.”
Where the remaining two comes from is a question the rest of the league will ask with some trepidation.
Con’s magnificent seven-try display, capped by Aidan Moynihan’s 100% conversion rate, allowed the Temple Hill club stretch their lead over the third-place team, now Lansdowne, to 13 points.
With only three games left and a maximum 15 available it’s unthinkable the Cork club won’t clinch an important home semi-final. Barr is not getting ahead of himself, though.
“It means nothing only a good performance. We have key points to look at and try to re-enforce them.
“They were very good on this occasion.
“Hopefully, in the next game (away to Trinity in a fortnight) we’ll give a chance to improve on the bits that didn’t go right.
“The key for us when you’re trying to develop a newer style is that the next game is more important that the previous game.
“You’ve got to look at that and benchmark your progress.
“That’s what we’re at,” he added.
Con crossed four times in the first-half through Greg Higgins, captain Niall Kenneally, Liam O’Connell and Jason Higgins to lead 28-5 at the interval.
In the second half, Brian Hayes, Kevin Sheahan and Alex McHenry scored.
“The players worked really hard. Scores came from exciting rugby but it’s all underpinned by very hard work from everyone, one to 15.
“I was particularly proud of that aspect of our performance. Lansdowne are a great team and they will suck this up as energy.
“We may well see them again and we’re very aware that they’ve got an emotional ball to play against us because of it.
“That said our energy and work-rate were fantastic and the players should be really proud of their efforts.”
Con gave a master class in how to turn chances into scores with clinical finishing, a point not lost on the coach.
“We’ve a lot of players with good skill levels, both forwards and backs.
“To have the confidence to use them under pressure is the trick and they backed themselves a lot.
“I also thought the decision making was good. Not to pass is just as important as when to pass which allowed us keep possession quite effectively.”
Conditions, too, were a factor, Con’s pristine pitch allied to favourable weather contributing elements in the entertaining 10-try extravaganza.
“The pitch here is fantastic.
“I was at the U20 game on Friday night on the 3G pitch and the old grass pitch at Musgrave Park is something I still hanker for a little bit.
“Our surface is as good as any in the country and lends itself to good rugby.”