THE Cork footballers' second-half performance against Limerick certainly made the trio of the RTÉ panel Sean Kavanagh, Cora Staunton and Colm O’Rourke eat humble pie with the Rebels running out 2-18 to 1-16 winners.
It was obvious before the game that the former Tyrone star Sean Cavanagh is not a fan of this Cork football team having already stated the present Rebels side would be better off playing in the Tailteann Cup.
Cavanagh said: “I fancy Limerick as I think they are a better side than Cork.”
Fellow panellists Cora Staunton and Colm O’Rourke felt Cork would have the upper hand but they trailed 0-5 to 0-4 in the 22nd minute. Cork were fortunate to go in at the break leading by the minimum as the TV experts were not convinced with their opening 35 minutes display.
Staunton said: “Limerick will be disappointed to be trailing at the break as they were clearly the better team.”
Joanne Cantwell was also miffed how the Cork defence were so tame in the matter they defended despite playing with the aid of a strong wind. Cavanagh had another cut off the Rebels: “Cork had a number of sweepers with few of them actually making any impact with the exception of Sean Powter and I will be surprised if anything changes in the second half.”
On the resumption, Cork increased the tempo and in the end, ran out deserving five-point winners.
As for Cavanagh's perspective on Cork's improved efforts... “I think 2-11 from the inside forward line is a good return from any side and to me when Steven Sherlock, Cathail O’Mahony and Brian Hurley click Cork look a different side."
Colm O’Rourke isn't a great fan of Cork either and feels the Rebels, who he faced as a player in All-Ireland finals in 1987, '88 and '90, will be the county Derry, Dublin and Galway would love to face in two weeks.
“In my opinion, the Cork performance was good enough to defeat Limerick but the reality is that Cork’s defence for long periods of this game was wide open and when you allow Limerick put up 1-16 against you I think most of the provincial winners would better that by a long way.”
Former Mayo ladies star Cora Staunton did offer Cork some hope judging by their improvement and change of tactics in the second half.
“I think Cork looked a far better unit in the second half as when they put that defensive system to one side and to score 2-11 in the second half was a good tally for their attack-minded forwards.
“This was always going to be a tricky game and although Cork will have to address their defensive issues I do feel that have some very good forwards capable of posing teams problems,” added Staunton.
It was always going to be Sean Cavanagh that would have the final say on the Cork display.
“Cork will not be able to score heavily against the top sides and if they defend as they did today it will be lights out."