CORK football manager Ronan McCarthy could not have been more pleased with the performance of his side after their 2-16 to 1-15 victory over Meath in the Allianz National Football League Division 2 tie in Pairc Tailteann in Navan on Sunday.
Cavan are in pole position at the top of the table, but Cork now have Roscommon and Tipp in their sights, with games against Clare next Saturday and the Rossies away to come. Cavan are on nine points, Roscommon and Tipp are both on seven, and Cork are on six, after five matches.
The Rebels got back on track after their defeat to Cavan by prioritising the performance.
“What we were looking for, it is kind of a cliché with managers, but we were looking for a performance today, and we got it I think.
“It was a contrast to the game against Cavan, where we were just way off for basically 25 minutes of the first half. We were dead on our feet in that game, for no particular reason that I can identify.
“We didn’t change a lot from the point of preparation for the game, but look, we started way better and even though we made errors and mistakes in terms of handling, you could see straight away there was a better tempo to our play, and we are the kind of team that has to play high tempo to be effective.
“One thing that we have done is that we have tried to develop the panel, and develop options in the panel. We used Sean White as a spare man today. He hasn’t done that to date. We had Kevin Flahive in the corner, who has been playing wing back, and so on, and he played extremely well there.
"Obviously we got Donncha (O'Connor) back, so we got game time into more people, so we are developing nice little options that will be of use to us later on in the championship. So, a very satisfying day all round.”
The one negative for McCarthy was the nasty looking hamstring injury picked up by centre back Brian O’Driscoll early in the second half.
“That’s a pity for him. He’s been out for six months. He had shoulder surgery in July or August, I think it was, and this was his fifth game back, we’ll say, so he was a bit unfortunate, as you need games to get momentum into your play.
"He was playing quiet well today. He unfortunately tugged the hamstring there, and it looks a bad one. So, it’s a big setback.”
Meath were five points down at half time, but had the advantage of a strong breeze for the second period, so it was extremely satisfying for McCarthy that Cork were able to keep them at bay for the remainder of the game.
“They never got back to three. They got to four, and that was a sign that we responded well anytime they got close to us that we went up the pitch again. With teams like that you can sit back and invite teams on to you, and you pay a price for it. That was satisfying fellas kept going forward.
"We kept trying to break out. We showed huge levels of energy trying to get up and support guys against a strong wind and got our reward.