THE attitude and character were the most pleasing aspects of Cork’s victory over All-Ireland champions Limerick in yesterday’s crucial Division 1A game in the NHL, according to team boss John Meyler.
Cork had held a nine -point advantage at one stage in the game at the Gaelic Grounds but when Limerick responded to draw level with just four minutes remaining there might have been a sense that this was last season’s All-Ireland semi-final all over again.
That day the Shannonsiders came from six points in arrears in the closing stages to take the game into extra-time and subsequently claim a place in the final which, of course, they subsequently won.
But not this time, Cork were not for turning and they raised the bar in the closing moments to secure a very significant victory which delighted Meyler.
“This is what we were looking for over the last two weeks going in against two Munster teams, Clare and Limerick. We were looking for an improvement on the first two games.
"I was delighted with the attitude and character of the players.
“We were up six points at half-time and they brought it back to just two afterwards. But I thought that we showed that character and attitude to stay ahead of them and that was pleasing."
The work-rate of the team was another positive for the Cork boss.
“Yes, any team that I have managed or been involved with the work-rate has to be up. Our second goal from Conor Lehane epitomised that.
“Seamus Harnedy and Lehane closed down the Limerick full-back line and got in for the goal. It was a critical score and it gave us breathing space again."
As a result of the brace of points bagged, Cork are now in a strong position to make the knockout stages of the competition.
They are currently on four points alongside, Wexford, Clare and Kilkenny, two behind leaders Limerick who have six and two ahead of Tipperary who are bottom of the pile.
Next weekend, Cork host Tipperary, Clare host Limerick and Wexford face Kilkenny. The top four reach the quarter-finals alongside the top four in Division 1B.