While Cork’s relegation to Division 3 — just four years after contesting a top-flight league final — might seem as bad as it gets, Ronan McCarthy has warned this may not be the end of the Rebels’ spectacular decline.
“If people think there’s a short-term fix here they’re naïve in the extreme,” said the Cork boss.
“This notion that we’re going to drop down to Division 3 and people are going to lie down and let us win matches, that’s part of our problem if we think that.
“We have to be patient and perservere and it will come right, but look the world won’t stop turning.
“I’m sure Derry thought when they went down to Division 3 it was as low as it could get, so I can’t call that.
“It will be difficult to get out of it, but bottoming out? I don’t know.”
Cork’s squad depth was tested when Brian Hurley, scorer of two goals, and John O’Rourke limped out, having already been without Michael Hurley, Paul Kerrigan, Sean Powter and Luke Connolly. Yet they fought and played like a team more used to winning than losing.
“Confidence is a brittle thing,” added McCarthy.
“I see people talking about the Irish rugby team who were almost number one in the world last November and a couple of Six Nations defeats and people are saying their confidence is down.
“Look at our players here, confidence is bound to be brittle but they’ve shown great courage to keep coming back and they did their jobs today.
“They are doing the right things and when you keep working at it, it’ll come right and if it doesn’t, the world won’t stop turning.”
Armagh assistant boss Jim McCorry labelled his team’s first-half performance as “lethargic”.
“This whole adage that when you have nothing to play for in terms of points, subconsciously that seeps in. But you certainly do have something to play for in terms of pride in the county and they were reminded of that at half-time.
“Maybe that contributed to a much more positive second-half performance.”