It would take two unlikely results materialising this weekend — Meath drawing with Louth and Down overcoming Tipperary by at least 13 points — to see Cork relegated to Division 3 on an inferior score difference to Meath and Down.
What’s certain is they’ll finish the spring in the bottom half of Division 2. Just one win from four home fixtures is cause for concern, no question. On the road, though, the signs were far more encouraging and this is where Maguire sees plenty of positives.
“I know we had some frustrating results, up and down performances. That’s not what we are looking for. We are looking for a level of consistency, but we are definitely building in the right direction,” Maguire insisted.
“Four losses is disappointing, but we went away to Down, Meath, and Roscommon and put in good performances. We were unlucky not to get a result against Roscommon.
One thing we’ll be looking at is how we fell flat against Cavan and a small bit against Clare, but these are things that can be rectified. Missed frees, as another example, are easily fixed.
Having fallen 0-7 to 0-2 behind early on at Dr Hyde Park, there was a danger Roscommon, backed by the elements, would pull out of sight. Cork, however, outscored their opponents 1-5 to 0-3 during the closing 15 minutes of the half.
“I am not one for moral victories because we have had some good victories away from home, but there was a really good performance put in here (against Roscommon),” Maguire continued.
“In other games, like against Clare in the second half where we were under pressure and collapsed, we didn’t here and we bounced back. Peter Kelleher got a great goal. We had the wind in the second half but we could never create separation. Credit to Roscommon, they are an experienced team. They got the scores.”
Manager Ronan McCarthy handed game-time to 33 players across their seven league games, with the number of debutants reaching double-figures.
They included Mark White, Anthony Casey, Sam Ryan, Micheal McSweeney, Kevin Flahive, Daniel O’Callaghan, Stephen Sherlock, Cian Dorgan, Cian Kiely, and Ronan O’Toole.
There’s also Aidan Walsh to return from injury ahead of the Munster semi-final on June 3, as well as the Nemo contingent of Stephen Cronin, Paul Kerrigan, Luke Connolly, and Barry O’Driscoll.
Competition breeds the best team. If you look at Tipperary in hurling and Dublin in football, they always bring in fresh faces and that comes from the internal competition in the A v B games. That so many lads have been used is a positive. It is all to play for.