A less than convincing Cork outfit stuttered and staggered all the way to the finishing line to keep alive their Munster ambitions, the overall performance falling several notches below the required standard according to their manager.
“We have been playing this way right through the league. We haven’t got that spark back which I felt we had last year,” he noted.
“It was like our league games where we didn’t seem to be up to the pace of the game, like the Tipperary game here in Thurles. We were off the pace of the game today and we conceded a lot of scores and there was some very silly play on our behalf. Waterford did very well on the day. They came in under pressure with injuries. You would have to say they took the game to us and were excellent on the day.
“I am not annoyed. I would just say that a lot of our players weren’t happy with their displays. I would be looking for a far better display from a lot of our players the next day.”
Was Division 1B hurling this spring then a contributing factor to said sluggishness?
“It’s a relevant question. I just feel it’s hard to know. We’ve had a good break since we played Tipperary in the quarter-final of the league. That day we were the same — very sluggish but we got going near the end. Today we just weren’t at the pitch early on that we’d have liked.”
The one positive drawn by the Cork management, and there very few, was the character displayed in reeling in a nine-point deficit early in the second period.
“It didn’t look good for us. It was very dubious to know if we could come back from that. The one positive to come from the game was the character our lads showed, there was a big lead there and our lads did well to peg it back. From that point of view that was a positive. That’s one thing about our team. We always seem to show great character. I expect that from the lads.
“I thought we were particularly poor in the first-half even though there was a strong breeze. We didn’t get to grips with the game and I thought Waterford certainly took the game to us. We had a lot of problem areas. We tried to address them as best we can. Credit to Waterford they played well. We have a lot of work to do to get back to the level we want to be at.”
The Cork boss was adamant corner-forward Alan Cadogan should have been awarded a free directly before Seamus Prendergast’s lead score on the stroke of full time: “Definitely yeah, absolutely.”
Further back he singled out the performance of Christopher Joyce in the half-back line.
“All of our backs improved in the second half. Mark Ellis had his first game for Cork at centre-back and he played a great game, I’m delighted for him. In fairness Lorcan was excellent and Christopher Joyce had his best game for years.
“Shane O’Neill’s interception was crucial when Waterford looked to be in on goal in the second half. It was crucial. Aidan Walsh came back and made a tackle, the interception was crucial and we got a break there. But we could have got a goal at the other side then. ”
He added: “I would prefer to have the replay next weekend. The winners have to play Clare the week after [June 15], which will be tough going. That’s the way it is. We have to pay for our performance.”