CORK hurling selector Diarmuid O’Sullivan was pleased to see the team get off to a winning start against Waterford in the Allianz Hurling League but cautioned against getting carried away based on one result.
The Rebels claimed a 5-22 to 1-27 victory in the Division 1 Group A clash at Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday, with the win assured thanks to late goals from Shane Kingston and Alan Connolly (two). It represented a first opening-round win for Cork since 2018 and O’Sullivan, while happy, was already looking ahead to the challenge of Tipperary next Saturday night.
“It’s one win,” he said, “it’s one win in the league and we’re not going to get carried away.
“We keep going back to it, that’s the next focus, what we have to bring to the table to beat Tipp next Saturday.
“We had a long winter but players had a lot of individual work done. It was coming together as a collective and blowing the cobwebs off, seeing where we were at the end of the 70 minutes and moving to the next week.”
Given the way that this year’s compacted schedule means that the league feeds almost directly into the championship, finding form from the off is likely to be key while the changing nature of the Cork squad means that every win provides valuable experience to the younger panel members.
“I think that this league is hugely important for us,” O’Sullivan said.
“We need to get the maximum out of these games, whatever 15 takes the field and whatever seven come on, they need to maximise their opportunities through that time.”
In that regard, there were positives to be taken, with the caveat that the room for improvement is substantial.
“There are a few positives,” he said.
“We used the ball well, we retained the ball well. We worked incredibly hard without the ball and I think it has been a focus for us. Can we improve? One hundred percent, but it’s a start and we won’t get carried away.
“Success in the All-Ireland over the last number of years has been down to work-rate, getting around the field, helping each other.
“If we’re to be successful, we need to take that mantra on board as well. It’s pleasing that we’re starting to learn from our mistakes over the last number of years and things putting into practice now and moving ahead.”