CORK manager Paudie Murray was obviously disappointed not to be bringing his young charges to a league final in Croke Park next Sunday.
The experience would have been invaluable to many developing players. At the same time, there were a lot of positives to take from Cork's two-point defeat to Galway and you could see from his demeanour that he was quick to recognise that.
"I think the first 15 minutes killed us really," he said, on a sun trampled Nowlan Park after 80 minutes of intense hurling. "I thought we lacked composure then but after that, I thought we were outstanding for the remaining 45 minutes (of normal time), as good as we’ve played, I think.
"In extra time I think we had our chances. We’ve an area to brush up on, on our frees, also probably inside taking the wrong decision every now and again but I think there was massive performances from some of the players there today as well.
"I thought our full-back line was outstanding. To concede 1-4 from play in normal time you’d be happy with that. The frees killed us [Carrie Dolan scoring eight from frees]."
From the outset, the intensity of this game was immense with strong hits plentiful and that’s something Cork haven’t had experience of in the league thus far. In particular, the newcomers to the squad wouldn’t have been used to that and it takes a few years of strength and conditioning to reach that level.
"It will bring us on massively. We would have liked to be going to Croke Park but we’re playing Tipp to two weeks in Cork and that’s a massive game for us based on how Tipp went today against Kilkenny so it’s now going to be a huge game for us.
"I don’t think we’re going to be short of games, I think the key thing now is that we develop again and try to get everyone to the next level.
"There are others that need to brush up but that’s normal when you go into these games, you’re not going to get everyone to that level on the same day."
Will Katrina Mackey be ok after going off injured?
"I think she will. She has a sore leg and she’s been carrying that the last two weeks so I hope she will be ok."
Cork’s attention will now turn to preparing for championship in July where the groups were announced yesterday. In a weakish group alongside Waterford, Down and Dublin, Cork will need to find strong challenge games elsewhere or within their own camp to ensure they are ready for another heavy battle down the line.
Galway and Kilkenny are again in the one group with semi-finals and quarter-finals to be decided. There's a lot to work on but a lot of positivity in the camp.