He admitted he faces a challenging few weeks as Cork turn their attention to the provincial championship.
“We have seven weeks now to get ourselves right for the Munster championship. Pre this league final, I was at pains to point out that it’s all about the championship.
“If we had won we would have parked it. The disappointing thing is we just didn’t perform. We looked off the pace and it’s not possible to say ‘it’s only league’. It’s a game we didn’t perform in and it’s very, very disappointing.
“It’s going to be difficult (to pick them up). At the same time the six to seven weeks does give us an opportunity to have a root-and-branch examination of where we’re at as a group and why we performed as we did today. We’ve had eight other league games where we performed really well but today we looked way off the pace. We’re going to have to find out why.”
After being turned over by Dublin in the second half of last year’s semi-final, Cork’s season didn’t get much better. He wasn’t making any comparisons. “It was just a flat, poor performance and we were beaten all over the field. We’re disappointed; we just have to find out why it happened and move forward again.”
Cuthbert chose yesterday to repeat Cork’s tactic of the Donegal game, moving wing-back Conor Dorman to midfield in an exchange with Eoin Cadogan, who took up marking duties on Diarmuid Connolly. He insisted they were cognisant of Dublin’s plan to press up on them.
“We did and to be fair, the pressure they applied meant we didn’t move the ball out of defence quickly enough. When we did move the ball quickly enough out, in my opinion, we were too far away from where the danger was and we couldn’t provide a link between the inside line and where we had possession. They applied the pressure at the right time and it worked for them.
“We certainly did our best to try to deny the Dubs space to play in the first place and there were plenty of times we got the ball back and came out with it, but our transition speed was just too slow.
“We didn’t get the ball out quick enough and we didn’t operate a proper system of linkage.
“If you look, there were four or five block downs on us in the first half. There were balls kicked into the corner from 50, 60 yards for lads to run on to but we just didn’t provide that linkage.
“We didn’t use the possession we had well enough, we didn’t support well enough. Hats off to Dublin; they were outstanding today and we couldn’t live with them.”John O’Rourke’s fitness for June’s
Munster semi-final against Clare or Limerick is on the line after damaging his A/C joint in his left shoulder at the start of the second half. Tom Clancy was a late withdrawal having felt sick yesterday morning.