As impressive as the win over Clare was, there were no guarantees that it would be followed by another performance and it was telling that Kieran Kingston cited the back-to-back nature of the victories as an important positive takeaway.
In 2020 – even taking into account the fractured nature of the season – and in this year’s Allianz Hurling League, Cork have struggled to follow one good display with another. Here, there was sloppiness at times but having the Clare win under their belts was a huge boon.
While a third goal in the second half would have been welcome in terms of making the game safe, it’s telling to note the impact that the two green flags did have. Tim O’Mahony’s strike opened up a three-point lead after a tight opening quarter and Cork were always at least two points in front thereafter; then, while Dublin had bounced back well, Shane Kingston’s goal just before half-time gave Cork real breathing space.
The next task is to show they can kick on further in such situations.
Yet again, Shane Barrett and Alan Connolly came off the bench and scored.
There would have been calls for one or both to start the match, the management feel that they are better coming into games in the second half and using their energy and it’s working so far. With Alan Cadogan out, it was Conor Cahalane who was given the call instead and he vindicated that decision with another performance that gave his all for the team.
While Seán O’Donoghue played well again, his yellow card meant that Cork opted to replace him as Dublin picked up a gallop and having Seán O’Leary Hayes to come in meant that it wasn’t a risky call.