Put aside momentarily the gulf in strength and game experience between the two sides in Tralee yesterday. Any cursory examination of what Cork started with, brought on, didn’t use — or have away on club duty with Nemo Rangers — would lead one to conclude there’s impressive depth and breadth to the Cork football squad as 2020 looms.
Cork have not reached the last eight of the championship since 2014, falling at the fourth-round hurdle each summer since. But irrespective of who Cork are pitted against on this occasion, McCarthy is adamant that his team are well capable of progressing to the Super 8s.
Cork are 7/2 with the bookies but I wouldn’t back them. I was never involved with Kerry in a Munster final in Páirc Ui Chaoimh where Cork were that friendless in the market. The message is clear: Being competitive and getting within two or three points of Kerry represents progress.
After such an emphatic and impressive win as they produced on Saturday night, the Cork management and players will have spoken in the dressing room afterwards about aspects of the game that can be improved upon — highlighting Tipperary’s seven-day turnaround as a disadvantage and cautioning getting carried away before a Munster final.
That Liam Kearns wasn’t the least bit surprised by this result says plenty about the changed nature of the Cork-Tipperary relationship. In fact, the Premier boss “couldn’t understand” how pundits had tipped Cork beforehand.
Celebratory team photos are rare enough after first round clashes, but the Castlehaven lads had no problem posing for the one supporter who managed to meander her way through the several high-vis jackets guarding the entry to the pitch at full-time on Saturday evening.