“We knew we were going to be under a bit of pressure,” said Kiely. “That starting 15 for Cork would not be too far off what they’ll have when it comes to the NHL. But, at the same time, we would have expected much, much more from our guys. We certainly wouldn’t consider that result to be something acceptable.
“When fellas get opportunities, they have to take them, simple as that. We need a response on Wednesday against Clare - fellas are going to have to turn around and show us that the jersey means more that what it did today to them.”
Kiely dismissed heavy training as a reason for Limerick’s display: “We are training hard but I’m sure Cork are training hard too.
“We’ll have to go away and dig deep – we knew there was going to be no easy days, and there was going to be possibly some low points along the way.
“This is a very low point and we have to respond to it. There’s no out clause in this thing, no back door and getting away from responsibility and accountability for what happens out on the field. What happened out there we are accountable for and we have to take responsibility for, and we have to respond. We have to show we’re better than that and that we’re capable of responding.”
The 1,625 in attendance saw Limerick begin brightly with a goal from Barry Nash, who finished from a tight angle after two minutes, but Cork then took over.
Luke Meade’s alertness on seven minutes gave them their first goal and driven on by a dominant half-back line, the visitors added a second goal on 15 minutes by the dangerous Alan Cadogan, who tormented Limerick all day: 2-5 to 1-3.
The game loosened up and Cork’s Darragh Fitzgibbon then soloed through the Limerick defence and passed to Shane Kingston, who got Cork’s third goal. Cork added a flurry of late points to go in 3-12 to 1-9 ahead at the half.
Cork resumed with a Patrick Horgan goal, a snap shot after good work by Cadogan, putting eleven points between the sides.
Though Limerick made sweeping changes, the game was too far gone for them to retrieve, and on 50 minutes Horgan duly added a second goal, finishing a rebound from a Cadogan shot. Cadogan set up Cork’s sixth three minutes later with a pass to his Douglas club-mate, Shane Kingston, and a seventh came for sub Michael O’Halloran when he took a neat pass from Horgan. The eventual winning margin was 21 points.
Cork selector Pat Hartnett wasn’t losing the run of himself after the game: “We conceded 1-19 in a game where we were on top. There are definitely areas we can improve on, skills we can improve, so again - keep it in context. I won’t say the score is irrelevant but while it’s good to win, how we play is what we can control.
“A rising tide lifts all boats, but we won’t get carried away. We conceded 20 scores and our free count was very high, we conceded seven frees in the first-half, seven scores. So we have huge areas to work on.
“The score stands but it’s the effort we’re delighted with. The performance speaks for itself. Limerick made nineteen changes from last week, too.A win is a win, we’ll take that, but there are huge areas where we can learn from.”
R. Lynch (0-11, 0-8 frees); B. Nash (1-0); K. O’Brien (0-3); A. Dempsey, D. Byrnes, P. Browne, D. Dempsey, J. Ryan (0-1).
P. Horgan (2-5, 0-3 frees), S. Kingston (2-2), A. Cadogan (1-4), L. Meade, M. O’Halloran (1-0), B. Cooper (0-3); M. Coleman, R. O’Flynn, D. Fitzgibbon (0-2 each); B. Hennessy, D. Kearney (0-1 each).
B. Hennessy, T. Condon, R. English, S. O’Brien, D. Morrissey, B. O’Connell, S. Cahill, D. O’Donovan, P. Ryan, R. Lynch, A. Dempsey, R. Hanley, C. Ryan, B. Nash, K. O’Brien.
M. Casey for Condon (inj., 28); D. Dempsey for A. Dempsey, D. Byrnes for Morrissey, J. Ryan for O’Donovan (all HT); P. Browne for P. Ryan (47).
A. Nash, C. Spillane, S. McDonnell, D. Griffin, C. O’Leary, L. McLoughlin, M. Coleman, D. Kearney, D. Fitzgibbon, B. Cooper, L. Meade, S. Kingston, A. Cadogan, P. Horgan, R. O’Flynn.
D. Brosnan for Meade (52); C. Murphy for Kearney and M. O’Halloran for Cadogan (both 58); J. Sheehan for McDonnell (60); B. Hennessy for Fitzgibbon (62).
P. Kelly (Tipperary).