DESPITE going down 1-24 to 1-18 to Waterford in Mallow, Cork manager John Meyler was happy to give some of the newer players another work-out in the Munster Senior Hurling League.
The Rebels are now out of the competition, having also lost to Clare at the weekend, but take on UCC this Sunday at 12pm in the Canon O'Brien Cup clash at the Mardyke.
That will offer another opportunity to access the likes of Robert Downey, Declan Dalton, Conor Cahalane and Michael O'Halloran, before the league starts away to Kilkenny at the end of the month.
“I’m happy enough with the performance against a reasonably strong Waterford team. We plan to use these games to give players a chance to establish themselves at this level as it’s a big step up to inter-county level.
“We place a big value on this competition, as it gives us that chance to look at fellas and, to be fair to them, I thought they did well.
“Tim O’Mahony had another good game, as did the likes of Declan Dalton up front. He got a few scores from play as well as frees and I thought he contributed well.
“Conor Cahalane got another game under his belt, and all this will help them going forward. It’s almost a two-year cycle now to break into an inter-county side, and this gives us the opportunity to blood them.
“Others too, like Pa Collins, have another game under their belt, and it’s all part of their learning curve as part of the senior squad."
There's a big step-up from this time of year to the league, let alone championship.
"We have Kilkenny in a few weeks in the league, and you couldn’t throw them into a game like that against seasoned players like TJ Reid and others.
“What you saw with Mark Coleman and Darragh Fitzgibbon coming into the side like they did doesn’t happen too often, as the physicality of the game makes it virtually impossible to do that now.
“But most of these fellas will get another chance to play again at the weekend when we take on UCC."
Most of the established squad won’t take part in that game either.
“They are all on the way back and they were training on another pitch here tonight when this game was going on. We have a challenge game on the 13th, and that will probably be the first outing for many of them this season.
“Some of them were going late into the year and they needed a bit of a break so they will return for that challenge game. That’s why these games are important to us, they give us the opportunity to give others a run-out, and that helps in their overall development going forward.
“We will look at things over the next few days and then get ourselves ready for the game against UCC and will put out another young side.
“When you look out there tonight it was only the likes of Christopher Joyce and Tim that you would call established players.
“Once Sunday is over we will be fully focused on that league clash with Kilkenny and the massive challenge that will be. But overall I’m happy with how the two games went,” concluded John.