Cork manager Kieran Kingston hopes that the two-week break until the Rebels’ next outing can help them bounce back from yesterday’s 11-point loss to Limerick.
Despite going 1-2 to 0-0 ahead inside six minutes, Cork lost by 2-25 to 1-17 against the All-Ireland champions. The defeat comes on the back of the reversal to Waterford in the Allianz HL final to Waterford and Kingston is looking for a chance to regroup ahead of the clash with Clare in Thurles on May 1.
“In hindsight, it’s better to have [a week] off when you lose,” he said.
“If you win, momentum going into the next week – we saw that last year through the All-Ireland series, game after game, if you can avoid injuries. In this scenario, having lost the league final and then losing today, I think that two weeks’ break is better for us, yes.
“Coming into the game, I said during the week in a couple of interviews, today wouldn’t define our season – win, lose or draw. And it doesn’t. But at the same time, it makes it a lot harder. The round-robin campaign, we’ve four games – one at home, which was today. You want to try and win your home games so today was a big game for us.
“But, while it doesn’t define it, it makes our season a lot harder. We've got to go away now for the next three and that’s going to be a huge challenge. But that’s what we do. There’s only one winner each day. We got to dust ourselves down.”
That Cork began each half well – they scored four unanswered points to tie the game early in the second half after going in 2-9 to 1-8 down – added to the disappointment felt by Kingston and the management team.
“We’d a great start,” he said, “five points up, really good start with the breeze.
“We were comfortable at the back. Conceded scores from the middle, conceded scores from frees – I think they got some long-range frees and points from the middle third where everybody knows they are really strong. Got themselves back into the game.
“Heading to half-time, it’s a draw. Then, basically we get a rush of blood, are turned over in the wrong place at the wrong time. Suddenly the ball is in the net and you’re four points going in at half-time. A bit like the Munster semi-final last year, we were in a very good position and got hit with two goals literally in injury time. It was a little bit similar.
“Lads were disappointed at half-time, were a bit down. But we spoke about it and they rallied really well. All of a sudden we’d four in a row and it’s a drawn game again. Game on.
“They looked to be dominating for that next 20 minutes and they put the game away. When you’re playing against a team really organised and experienced like that, when they got that lead against us, they just sat back and controlled the game and managed it out.
“You’d expect that. Then you’re sticking or twisting – do you go for points or go for goals – while all they’re doing is managing the scoreboard.”