Cork face Dublin this evening in the second round of games in Division 1A, and Seamus Harnedy says the Rebels will be hoping for a repeat of last weekend’s workrate and effort, writes Michael Moynihan.
Cork had seven points to spare over league champions Clare in their first league outing, and Harnedy says the new faces who featured for the Rebels have “freshened the whole thing up”.
Harnedy said: “Everyone was very positive from number one to 15.
“That was something we put a huge emphasis on before the game, on getting a high work rate out of ourselves, and thank God it paid off.
“And that was carried on by all the subs that came in, too. Brossie (Dean Brosnan) came in and got a point, Lorcan (McLoughlin) contributed when he came in — the whole squad contributed, which was great.
“Is it good to see new faces come in and put us all under pressure? Absolutely, it freshens the whole thing up, but it was only game one of the league — you’d only judge a team really after two or three matches.”
Harnedy agreed Cork’s work-rate helped their win, but said the team have areas to work on: “It helps if the forwards chip in and work, it eases the pressure on the backs, but we had a few hairy moments as well during the game, Clare created a few goal opportunities.
“That means we have areas we have to work on and we’re well aware of that. We’re not getting ahead of ourselves by any means, even though it’s obviously good to have momentum when you’re going to the next game.
“We were happy to get the two points on the board. Going into it we knew it was going to be tough against a Clare team coming to town under a new regime.”
Dublin were well beaten by Tipperary last weekend but the St Ita’s club man says that he and his team-mates are expecting a backlash from the Ger Cunningham’s charges.
“We have another tough task tonight against Dublin — last weekend wasn’t the ideal start they wanted to the league, losing to Tipperary.
“We learned ourselves the hard way last year that a team can perform after a beating — we had our best performance of the league after a fair beating by Dublin in Croke Park. We’re not being a bit complacent about the game this evening as a result. It’ll be a tough, tough game — last year we only won by a point in the back door game in the championship, and Dublin were a man down for a good bit of that game.
“Obviously there’s going to be backlash from Dublin and we’re going to have to be prepared for that this evening.”
It’s another match under floodlights, and Tipperary manager Michael Ryan told the Irish Examiner this week that he’s not a fan of playing hurling under lights.
“I suppose in the last decade or more it’s become more and more common,” says Harnedy. “Players have become more accustomed to it, and when you’re playing under lights from a young age you’d be used to it. Some grounds are better than others, you just adapt as you go along.
“There can be a different feel to a night game — I’d be as happy to play on a Sunday afternoon in natural daylight, it doesn’t bother me, but a night-time game can sometimes take on a different atmosphere, it can be an experience all of its own.
“You’re only lucky enough to have two or three league games at home in the year depending on the fixture — we’re lucky that people are good to come to the games, and there was a great atmosphere there the last night. I’d be hoping there’d be as good an atmosphere this evening, it certainly makes a difference to have them on your side at crucial times in the game. Hopefully we can get another two points this evening.”
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.