CORK learned another harsh reality in the wake of a second successive drubbing from a top-tier county on Saturday in Portlaoise.
Tyrone followed on from Kerry’s lead by highlighting the yawning gap between the best and the rest as the Rebels exited the championship in tame fashion, on the wrong end of a 3-20 to 0-13 scoreline.
Coach Ronan McCarthy faced the usual barrage of questions afterwards with a calm dignity.
“It’s obviously disappointing, but you’re entitled to nothing. The fact that we were hammered by Kerry doesn’t mean that we are owed anything.
“You have to go out and earn it. This notion that we were entitled to something after the drubbing we got from Kerry isn’t real because we got another this evening.
“The work that the players have put in hasn’t been reflected outside on the pitch. But we have to accept it. You come in after the Tipperary game expecting a performance against Kerry and you don’t get it.
“I certainly wasn’t expecting a similar or even worse performance on this occasion. Of course, it’s massively disappointing and it indicates we have to go in a different direction. That’s certainly very evident,” he said.
Cork’s best spell came midway through the first-half when they kicked three points in quick succession.
“We got it back to 4-4, but Tyrone reeled off the next four or five points and we had a couple of goal chances that we didn’t take. You can’t depend on one or two things to go your way to saving a game.
“Of course it would have been a help if we had scored a goal, but you have to be more resilient than that during a match, especially in periods, when the game is going against you.
“I thought Tyrone pulled away too easily and it was over as a contest 10 minutes into the second-half. Their first goal made it 1-13 to 0-6 at that stage and you’re in a difficult position at that point, especially with the way Tyrone play, bringing men behind the ball and hitting you on the counter, which they are very good at. We collapsed completely and that was disappointing.”
McCarthy’s first year of three is now at an end and while some people anticipated a bedding-in period, the coach didn’t see it like that.
“A lot of people pointed to our three-year term. We were very clear with the players and we said we wanted to get as much as we could out of this year.
“I think with three-year terms you have to get the most out of the first year. After a mixed league people were starting to make excuses about injuries and players not available.
“But the most disappointing thing was that we didn’t build on the momentum from the Tipp game."