Rebels must come back fighting to make the Super 8 series where they would face Dublin and Donegal

Rebels must come back fighting to make the Super 8 series where they would face Dublin and Donegal
Sean White and Kerry's Jack Barry exchange views during the Munster final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

CORK football boss Ronan McCarthy has a huge job on his hands to pick up the pieces after a humiliating hammering at the hands of Kerry.

The Rebels returned on Saturday evening to the revamped Páirc Uí Chaoimh for the first Munster final there since 2014 but despite two early goals fell to a 17-point trouncing.

It was the county’s heaviest defeat in 80 years to the old enemy and left the players, management and supporters reeling, particularly as Cork had impressed in the provincial semi-final against Tipperary.

While no one was expecting Cork to pull off an upset against a talented new-look Kerry side that completed six in a row in the province, the abject manner of the performance was impossible to fathom. After scoring 2-1 inside the opening 10 minutes, the hosts didn’t raise another flag for 39.

Cork will this week attempt to regroup before their qualifier clash on the weekend of July 7-8. They will meet one of the following eight counties at a neutral venue on that occasion: Mayo, Tyrone, Monaghan, Cavan, Kildare, Clare, Leitrim or Armagh.

Those eight sides were paired up in this morning’s draw for next weekend’s backdoor ties. The first-named team have home advantage.

Kildare v Mayo 

Armagh v Clare 

Leitrim v Monaghan 

Cavan v Tyrone

The four winners will then be drawn against Cork, Fermanagh, Laois or Roscommon.

At the same juncture last season Cork took Mayo to extra time before falling short, but in recent years their record has been disappointing.

They were easily dismissed by Kildare in 2015 while they left a lead slip against Donegal in 2016.

Cork’s last appearance in the All-Ireland quarter-final was 2014 when they also lost to Mayo, but this summer the Super 8 structure is on trial. Under the new format, there are two groups of four, with each team guaranteed three games, one at home, one away and the opening clash at Croke Park on July 14-15.

If the Leesiders win their next game they will be in the section with Dublin, Donegal and Roscommon, or whoever beats the Connacht runners-up. Their first game would be against Roscommon or a qualifier, in Croker, as Donegal and Dublin are down to meet that first weekend.

That means Cork’s home Super 8 game would be against Donegal or Dublin, meaning the away match would be a second outing in GAA headquarter, or a tricky trip to Ulster.

The other quartet will feature Kerry, Galway, along with Laois and Fermanagh if they make it that far.

Should Dublin and Kerry top their groups they couldn’t meet until the All-Ireland final.

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