CORK bridged a 30-year gap on Saturday as a place in the All-Ireland SHC quarter-finals was secured and manager Kieran Kingston was pleased to see his team back on the goals trail.
Not since a 1991 clash against Waterford had Cork won a senior hurling championship match by scoring more goals and fewer points than their opponents, but a 3-19 to 1-23 victory saw off Clare at the LIT Gaelic Grounds.
Having scored 18 goals in their five Allianz HL games, Cork were out-goaled by Limerick in the Munster SHC semi-final but they enjoyed a better return on Saturday as Jack O’Connor and Shane Kingston netted in the first half, Cork retiring with a 2-9 to 0-11 advantage. In the second half, Shane Barrett netted and Kingston was happy to see players go for the goal chance rather than easy points.
“We were successful in doing a fair bit of that at the start of the league,” he said.
“We went away a little bit from it toward the latter end of the league, but today we tried to get back at it and I suppose it's really trying to get the balance between when to pop it and when to try and take it on and not go take the point.
“While you're evolving in that scenario, you will fall between two stools at times. You'll say it didn't work out, ‘I gave a 50-50 pass and I should have put it over the bar.’ That's the evolution of the group and I think we're trying to work on it.
“Séamie had a point that he probably would have popped and a point that was needed but the goal chance was there and it wasn't a 50-50 goal chance, it was a 70-30 goal chance because Shane was gone inside. That's something we really encourage that we should be giving.”
In terms of the game itself, Kingston was just happy to have got the result.
“The most overriding emotion is relief,” he said, “because that game ebbed and flowed.
“We weren’t sure coming into it how our guys were going to react. We had had three weeks off, was that going to be a good thing, with the rest would be fresh? Clare had momentum after a very good league campaign and three huge games with two fantastic wins, so we didn’t know if that was going to be too much to deal with.
“There was a lot of uncertainty coming into it from our point of view and we were apprehensive as to how that would work out.”