McCarthy was pleased that in Cork, club football was played in the earlier part of the month and the hurling later.
“We had nine games in 12 weeks between the McGrath Cup and the league and whatever about a physical break, the group needed a mental break from each other. Apart from the lads playing club hurling, they had 18 days back with the clubs.
“We’ve a good run-in. No-one can complain these days — we had five weeks before the semi-final and before it might have been only two weeks.
We sent the players back with a clear message to perform well for their clubs. If your form is good you’ve to keep it going because you never know when you’ll have a downturn.
“It’s also a case that every time you go out and perform as an inter-county player there’s an expectation to reach a certain level. We were looking for them to perform well for their clubs and we were watching.”
McCarthy himself pointed out that the timing of his appointment last year allowed him and the new selectors a chance to take in club games on Leeside: “It helped because it allowed myself and the management to go out and watch when the club championships were in full flow. We got things up and running and that was reasonably seamless. There was no uncertainty.
“There’s always something that comes up. There are injuries. It never goes completely smoothly so you have to adapt as problems come.”
Some observers have taken Cork’s display against Mayo last year as evidence of their ability to compete.
“A lot of commentary is extreme and there are a lot of top players in Cork so people shouldn’t have been surprised by the performance [against Mayo].
“Mayo, if they have four big games every year, they can perform like that in three and a half or three and three-quarters of them. That’s an element we have to try and bring, the consistency.
“The ups and downs have hampered us over the last number of years, and there is no quick fix. A lot of people are hanging their hat on the Mayo game and they won’t be talking about it if we fail to quality for the Super 8s
It’s (Super 8s) too far ahead for us to think about. We can only have one focus and that’s the game on Saturday. If you win that game it opens up avenues but there’s a danger about looking too far ahead.
“Even when people ask about a three-year term and building the team — we’ve an opportunity this year. Let’s see what we do this year first because this could be our best opportunity. Let’s do the best we can and focus immediately on the Munster semi-final and take it from there.”
McCarthy welcomed the new fundraising initiative on Leeside, Cairde Chorcaí, as long as the funds raised are spent properly.
“It’s a welcome addition to the funding that’s there but I don’t think it’s badly needed. It’s supplementary.
I was a selector under Conor Counihan and Brian (Cuthbert) for two years and while I’m only the manager for six months I’m not aware of at any stage not getting something that was needed. We’ve never not got what we asked for from the board.
“This adds to it but I always think it’s important that money is used properly and creatively and there’s value for money. If you’ve €20,000 for example it must be used to add to what the players’ need so they perform better. People are great at spending money for the sake of it.
“It’s about the quality of the work you do three times a week or whatever you do over the course of six months. Everything else is just additional to the message you’re trying to get across on the training field. That’s your bread and butter.
“Cork spend a good bit. It’s about good management of resources. We live in a society where people think if you throw money at something you solve a problem but you have to be astute. This is welcome.”