WHEN you break it down the only thing that mattered in Cork’s clash with Limerick was the result.
It’s really was as simple as that, win the dream lives on, lose and it’s time to start looking at the club fixtures.
Were Cork at their best, absolutely not, in fact, you could argue that overall they played a lot better against Kerry, at least for the first 50 minutes or so of that clash.
Having played with the strong wind in the first half the Rebels were only a point up at halftime, with Steven Sherlock getting six of their eight points, and four of them were placed balls.
Limerick wouldn’t have been too concerned as they knew that the strong wind was now going to be in their favour and a one-point lead was nothing, which they soon proved drawing level within minutes of the restart.
But credit where credit is due and Cork upped their game and were deserving over the 70 minutes. Limerick didn’t make the trip to Leeside to make it easy for the Rebels and this was always going to be a tight affair.
It was only when Gordon Brown was black-carded that they started to pull away. While he was off the pitch they hit 1-3 to build up a 1-13 to 0-10 lead and from here it was always going to be tough for Limerick to win.
In fairness, they came close and Cork didn’t help their own chances with Paul Walsh managing to pick up two yellow cards to see red within two minutes of coming on. But again Cork responded led by their corner-backs, Sean Powter and Kevin O’Donovan, whose bursting runs forward inspired all those around them.
One of those runs from O’Donovan led to Cork’s penalty which effectively killed the challenge of Limerick, putting five points between the sides at that stage.
So it’s job done and we move on but there is still a lot of work to do and John Cleary will be well aware of that. He can be happy with improvements game on game and when Cork run at any team they will cause problems.
The pace of the likes of Powter, O’Donovan and Mattie Taylor bursting out of defence would be one that most teams would fear. Add in the likes of Steven Sherlock and Brian Hurley and that pace would be something that will be needed if Cork are to continue on their journey.
But there are still plenty of areas we can improve on, especially in attack.
Hurley didn’t feature prominently on the scoreboard but he did win a lot of balls; his distribution let him down at times. Cleary certainly let him know his feelings on this once or twice. That said Hurley is a class act and will be key the next day out for the Rebels.
The fact he was winning possession is the important factor and a few more players making runs off his shoulder could see a far more productive outcome the next day. That said we are still very reliant on Sherlock to get scores and we need to see a few more stepping up to the mark a bit more.
Cork are going in the right direction with what is a young side overall and they will continue to improve with every game.
But they need to run with the ball more as it was then that they tore Limerick apart, with the visitors quite happy to let Cork have the ball out the pitch and pass it back and forth.
Once the Rebels moved it with pace Limerick were in all sorts of trouble and we need to see more of this. They have the players capable of doing it and they will need to do it more and more going forward.
Defensively, Cork gave too much room to the likes of Adrian Enright, particularly in the first half when he seemed to have the freedom of the pitch. They tightened up after the break but still were carved open down the centre for their goal.
That won’t do from here on, but again something they can look at and sort during the week.
So for now it’s job done and move on and with confidence growing with every game who knows how far they can go.