Peaking during the spring, the line would dip violently come championship as Alan Quirke resumed his position between the sticks.
Last year was slightly different in that the Bishopstown man made his SFC debut against Limerick and lined out in the following games against Clare and Kerry before being replaced by Quirke for the qualifier with Galway and All-Ireland quarter-final against Dublin.
This year, his chart wavered only slightly when David Hanrahan started against Tyrone. The competition is something O’Halloran enjoys and if anything, he misses the duel with Quirke.
“To be honest, and no jokes, you don’t mind fighting it out with fellas and it’s a battle I’d have liked to have won. I did start for a couple of games last year and it’s something I’d have liked to have done.
“Look, Alan is a great goalkeeper, he’s someone I get on with very well. From a personal point of view, it was sad to see him go.”
O’Halloran, 27, is philosophical about the wait he had to endure before becoming first-choice goalkeeper.
“It’s not something I want to define me. You come back next year, you’re not going to throw your toys out of the pram. You just try and learn from it.
“A lot of ‘keepers have to do it. I had three seasons on the bench so it is the way it is. When you’re behind a good ‘keeper who has been there a couple of years before you, you just have to try and learn from him. When you get your chance then you try and take it.
“Diarmuid Murphy did it and went on to have a couple of All-Ireland wins. You look at fellas like that who stuck it out — Anthony Nash did it in hurling. Some fellas get fed up but when you’re part of a successful team it helps. Sitting next to Nicholas Murphy or Graham Canty, who was I to be giving out? You just had to be patient.”
It’s 10 weeks since Cork’s Division 1 semi-final defeat to Dublin; time enough for O’Halloran to work out his kick-out options with his middle third players after Cork’s restarts went so awry in the second half of that game.
“In the second half, it was 11 from 20 [kick-outs] or something like that. It was stuff we probably didn’t do a whole pile or work on but it’s something we have worked on recently. Generally, we’ve got a lot of players back recently and since the club championship we’ve worked hard.”
The gap between Dublin and the chasing bunch is not as much a chasm as some are led to believe, he says.
“On any given day, there’s probably five or six teams that can beat Dublin. With the hype, people can get carried away and think they’re miles better.”
Neither does O’Halloran follow Peter Creedon’s line of thinking that Cork are a 10-point better team than his Tipperary side.
“I think anyone who has played Sigerson or played Tipp U21 or minor... they’re waiting to come. I think they’ve players who would start on any team in the country.
“They won the Division 4, they’ve the incentive of the [seeded] draw in Munster, they’re only dying to take a scalp. If we don’t play 100% we won’t win. We don’t think it’s that much [between the counties].”