Cork’s Tim O’Mahony hopes that the belief gained from last week’s win over Clare can give them momentum ahead of tomorrow’s All-Ireland SHC quarter-final against Dublin in Thurles (7pm).
A two-point victory earned Kieran Kingston’s team the clash with the Dubs, with Cork seeking to record consecutive knockout wins in the championship for the first time since 2015.
While Cork had been favourites for the Clare game, it still took a last-minute Patrick Collins save to secure the win but O’Mahony believes that getting through will be important in terms of development.
“We’re a very young bunch,” he says, “and coming out of a tight game like that with a win is probably something we haven’t had so that’s the most pleasing aspect.
“We have a young bunch but it’s a great bunch. They work hard and they’re honest.
“You take them when they come, it’s not every day you come out on the right side of them.”
Up by five points as half-time approached, Cork fell behind by one as Clare launched a second-half fightback before the Rebels came good again.
“It was a tight game,” O’Mahony says.
“We knew what Clare were going to bring and that they’d throw everything at us. In return, we threw everything at them, it’s very fine margins at this stage of the championship and only a piece of brilliance from Pa at the end saved us. It was a great save, but we weren’t surprised by it, either.”
And, if there was pressure applied from outside the camp, O’Mahony paid no heed.
“To be honest, we don’t pay much attention to what people outside the group think,” he says.
“There’s a great bunch of lads there, there’s lads fighting to get into the 26 and more lads in the 26 fighting to get into the starting 15, the starting 15 trying to hold on to their jerseys.
“There’s great competition there and we just worry about ourselves, really.”
Now the focus turns to Dublin. While their last outing was the Leinster final loss to Dublin, O’Mahony knows it will be a tough challenge.
“Before the draw, we knew it was either Tipp or Dublin we’d get and that we’d have to be at 110 percent to beat them.
“Dublin are a fierce good side and we had a right battle with them below in Thurles last year. We saw their ability, they knocked a highly-fancied Galway out of the Leinster championship and then didn’t have a whole pile of luck against Kilkenny, being down a few key players.
“They’ll have a sting in their tail after that and we know we’ll be in a big battle.”
O’Mahony, who has just finished his teaching course in Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, is again likely to be deployed at wing-back, seemingly settled after playing in attack and midfield in the last few years. It’s not a big deal for the Newtownshandrum man, though.
“I think other people tend to look at it more than I do,” he says.
“I don’t look at it as, ‘Oh, I could be playing there or there,’ – if you’re in, you’re happy to be in and you give it your all.”