AFTER their loss to Limerick on Sunday Cork hurling manager Kieran Kingston said that he was glad of the two weeks before they take on Clare in Thurles in their second round robin Munster championship game.
Ahead of that Clare will be up against Tipperary and if they lose then it heightens the clash even more as whoever loses between the Rebels and Clare season will most likely be over.
That’s not a situation that either Cork or Clare want to find themselves in, but right now it’s the most likely reality for Cork and pending on the result of the Tipp tie for their opponents as well. Played two, lost two will not make good reading for whoever comes out second best.
Right now and no great surprise really, Limerick and Waterford are in the driving seat and it looks like a case of one from Cork, Clare and Tipp to join them.
Whilst Tipp lost to the Deise in round one they can take a lot from that encounter as they made the league champions battle all the way to the finish and will be confident in their chances against Clare.
So Kingston will be keeping a close eye on this one as the result is going to have a big say in Cork’s chances of making the top three and advancing to the All-Ireland series.
In one sense Cork might be hoping for a Clare win as that would effectively end Tipp’s chances of qualifying and seeing as we take them on in our last match it might be in our favour, provided of course we then beat Clare.
After that, we travel to Walsh Park to take on Waterford and it would take a massive performance from Cork to come away with anything from that one, but never rule the Rebels out.
But there is a lot of work to be done in the next two weeks if we are to recover from this and the loss to Waterford in the league final.
They are two tough defeats to take and not easy to recover from.
Let’s not forget these are amateurs and all have jobs and/or college to go to on a daily basis along with training. Yes, the same applies for all counties but when you are going well the daily grind doesn’t feel like one and right now for Cork it will be just that – a grind.
Kingston, The Rock, Noel Furlong, and Pat Mulcahy will have a tough task on their hands this week to lift the players and try and get any negative thoughts out of their minds.
Easier said than done and on this occasion, the two-week break might help. But the same was said after the league final loss to Waterford and it didn’t seem to make any difference.
What’s needed now is a massive response from all involved to give their loyal supporters something to cheer about.
Cork and their fans are hungry for success at national level and you can bet that they will be there in numbers again in a fortnight to cheer on the Rebels. They are not found wanting when it comes to putting their hands in their pockets to attend games, no matter where they take place.
So attention has to turn to Clare knowing that a lot of hard work needs to happen between now and then or else it could be a very short summer for all.