AT half-time in Cusack Park yesterday, Cork boss John Meyler had cause for great concern as Clare went to the dressing rooms with an 11-point advantage.
Things changed significantly thereafter for the visitors and the Cork boss, despite the 0-23 to 0-19 loss, was more upbeat at the final whistle.
“It was a game of two halves, I’d say. The fact was that Clare settled very well, it was four points each and then they had a purple patch, they hit seven or eight points in a row and going in at half-time 11 points down, we were up against it, really.
“We didn’t play at all for the last 20 minutes of the first half, that was really it,” he said.
Cork’s recovery thereafter was very positive, something that the Cork boss acknowledged.
“That’s true, we were very solid in the second half but we couldn’t get that goal we needed.
“When we were six points down, we needed a goal, Hoggie or Harnedy needed to get a score and we didn’t.
"The couple of frees we got there, Hoggie went for a goal, the goalkeeper made a few good saves but we just needed that goal."
Cork did have a great opportunity of a goal in the first-half but Seamus Harnedy was denied by a fine stop from Clare keeper Donal Tuohy.
“Yes, we were six points down at the time then and he should have finished it. That was the problem against Kilkenny, it was a problem too against Wexford, we didn’t take those goal chances.
“Clare had a couple of goal chances too but our backs defended well. Sean O’Donoghue at corner-back, I thought he was excellent."
So what positives could be taken from the game?
“Sean O’Donoghue, Tim O’Mahony at centre-back, Cadogan too. The forwards were poor today, there was a lack of appetite in the first-half and we need to drive on more.
“Hopefully, we’ll have fellas back for Waterford next Sunday, Mark Coleman, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Lehane, Alan Cadogan.
“The games are piling up now and you can’t afford to risk fellas. The last 20 minutes killed us really.
“Our shape structure was wrong early on, we tried to rectify that and get it better as the game went on.
“But it’s the scoreboard at the end that counts, though, not the one at the end of either half. We need to work on that last 20 minutes of the first-half."