Cork hurling manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy was honest in appraisement of his side’s performance in Thurles yesterday after the Rebels were beaten 3-21 to 0-16 by Kilkenny in the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A final.
"I have been on the receiving end of Kilkenny before," he said. "It is just very disappointing for the team and the supporters to lose by so much and I am disappointed for them but we were always going to get knocks along the way.
"We are developing a young team, I am just very disappointed that we did not show what we are capable of today."
Barry-Murphy didn’t feel his team were dominated physically. "I don’t think so. They were the better team all round. We were beaten comprehensively around the field. We played them in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and beat them and I didn’t think physicality was a problem that day and I don’t think it is a problem for us going forward.
"We will just have to learn. We did not play our own game and we did not play as well as we can. It is as simple as that.
"I think we were very nervous on, funnily enough. I didn’t see why we would be but we were very nervous early on. We seemed a bit overawed by the occasion so maybe it is a learning process for some of the lads, I really don’t know but we did look nervous early on."
The Cork manager tried to find some positives but admitted the team were "fighting for respectability" after half-time.
"We never gave up certainly. The reality was that from half-time on, we were fighting for respectability. We would liked to have got a couple of goals to put a bit of respectability on the scoreboard but Kilkenny did not give us that opportunity.
"It is a steep learning curve and we just got a big knock back today. It’s our job as the management team to get them up for the championship. It is a steep learning curve and we took a lot of positives from the league but I would have to say that the comprehensive defeat today knocks confidence in you and I hope that it won’t set the players back too much."
Barry-Murphy added he was aware Cork had work to do to reach Kilkenny’s level.
"All along through the league people were saying that we were being cute, playing ourselves down but the reality was that we knew all along that we had to get up to a certain level where Kilkenny are at.
"It’s our jobs to sort out the lads again and get their confidence back, and try to get moving for the championship.
"Throughout the league we’ve tried to develop the panel and get competition for places and in cold light of day we have to see where we can improve on our weaknesses, it’s as simple as that."