Darragh Fitzgibbon had his quietest outing since his breakthrough last summer and at the back, Colm Spillane, Seán O’Donoghue, Eoin Cadogan and Chris Joyce just gifted points to Waterford with sloppy distribution. What was alarming was this echoed the second halves of the Tipp and Limerick draws.
Ultimately Cork got the job done by upping the gears in the closing stages, tackling with more ferocity and moving the sliotar with greater urgency. Bill Cooper was a pure warrior in the second half, while Chris Joyce and Mark Coleman provided a platform.
Shane Kingston and Seamus Harnedy fired brilliant scores in the last quarter, and Conor O’Sullivan’s introduction after 44 minutes, eventually, swung the balance.
With a 15-day break since their last game complacency shouldn’t have been an issue but both the players and many in the crowd of 14,737 seemed to think just by showing up Cork were going to win.