Conor Geaney inspired a six-point success over Tipperary and was pinpointed, alongside Michael Foley, as a key figure by O’Connor.
“Conor Geaney, in particular, was brilliant for us today,” O’Connor stated. “Michael Foley, too, did really well for us. Initially, we were supplying them with plenty of ball but then Tipperary dropped men back and we had our difficulties with that.
“Still, we should be used to men behind the ball at this stage and be able to cope with it. We practice dealing with it in training.”
O’Connor was pleased to prevail but appreciated the need for improvement further down the line. “I am delighted, we all are, but there is serious room for improvement from us. We didn’t have enough penetration in the middle third to break their line.
“We will need much more in a month’s time when the All-Ireland championship gets going.
“I was happy with the contribution of the subs too but we know there is much more to come from us.
“We understand that we need to improve,” O’Connor added.
Meanwhile, his counterpart Charlie McGeever admitted his frustrations regarding his team’s capacity to prepare diligently enough for the encounter.
The dual players involved with his side only became available to McGeever again after the hurlers’ clash last weekend.
“This is not an excuse, this is a matter of fact. The issue we have is that there was seven fellas coming off the back of the hurling last week.
“It was difficult to plan in the last six weeks as the players just weren’t there.
“The first time we were together was last Saturday but still, the better team won,” he said.