GAME one of at least four for John Considine and his new-look Cork minor side and they got the vital victory they needed.
They beat Clare 0-26 to 3-13, though they were behind for 57 minutes of the contest. They finished on the right note though, hitting six without reply to snatch the win.
Cork go into the Tipperary match next Sunday with a win under their belts, but knowing there is plenty of work to do. The young Rebels were patchy at times but it must be remembered that many of these players are 15 or 16, with the grade dropping to U17.
For most this was their first taste of the big time and have no doubt nerves played a part for both teams yesterday. With that said Cork and Clare can take credit for their performances and don’t be surprised if these two end up meeting again in the Munster final.
It’s not beyond the bounds of possibility as they are the top tips for Munster honours, but there are a few games to be played before that will be known.
Whilst the seniors won’t be too familiar with the new format Considine has some knowledge of it, after their exploits in this competition last year.
He was manager of the Cork side that won the inaugural All-Ireland U17 championship last season, which this year has become the new age for the minor championship.
As they prepare now to face Tipperary he will be all too used to the quick turn around. Last year the Munster championship, which meant three games for Cork, were run over three consecutive Tuesday nights so of the two Johns (John Meyler the other) he will know what needs to be done this week.
Have no doubt that Meyler will have had a word with him in that regard, such is the levels of preparation he goes to.
No doubt it will be a lot easier to prepare for next Sunday and they can take plenty of positives from yesterday.
The win for starters as nothing gives sides confidence like a win, and it was one they just about deserved in the end.
You can point to the fact that Clare were down to 14 for the last 20 minutes, but how often have we seen that go against sides, rather than for them as quite often they struggle with how to use the extra man,
Add in the extra effort the opponents put in being down one and on more than one occasion we have seen sides come out on the wrong side of a result with 15 against 14.
But the Rebels used the extra man to great effect and ran at the Clare defence, which worked against tiring legs.
Another plus for Cork was their scorers, 26 points over the hour and add in a few other chances that went narrowly wide and in this area they will be happy enough, again considering it was the first day out for the side.
Look at Clare, who got 16 scores and in that terms, we had 10 more and on most occasions, this will win games for you.
So overall Considine and his fellow selectors will be happy enough at the end of day one.
But, as I said earlier, there is still plenty of work to do and have no doubt the defence will be an area that will be worked hard on this week.
Cork gave away three first-half goals and from a defence point-of-view they were let through far too easily and you can be that won’t happen next week. You can be sure that Considine will work on this and any Tipp player that gets a goal will earn it,
Yesterday the likes of Mark Rodgers and Kealan Guyler, in particular, caused our defence all sorts of problems, with Rodgers getting two of the goals. Rodgers is a seriously talented hurler, and he will cause plenty of defences trouble in the coming weeks.
In the first-half, in particular, Cork were far from their best in defence, but in the second-half they came much more into the game, no doubt after a few words of advice from Considine.
Whilst we didn’t dominate midfield we certainly didn’t lose out in that area either and the fact both Clare midfielders were withdrawn tells its own story
Up front captain, Shane Barrett, led by example and young Evan Murphy proved a handful for the Clare defence as well.
Murphy did miss a number of frees, but again it is important to remember the age of these players and the fact this is the first time they will have played in such a big game.
Like others, he will learn from this and having seen the way he has played for the Glen for a number of years you can bet he won’t miss them against Tipp.
So the bottom line is the fact we won and that is all that counts, it’s two points on the board and move on to the next game and it’s far better to be moving on with a win.
Next stop Thurles!