Cork’s John O’Rourke feels he and his colleagues will have to improve their concentration levels following Sunday’s late fade-out against Derry.
The Rebels were cruising to a win in the Division Three tie when they leaked two late goals and were hanging onto a two-point lead in injury time.
O’Rourke, who scored 2-2 in the game, said: “We’re happy to have won, but there is a tinge of disappointment with the way we finished out the game. We were totally in control of the second half and had built up a nice lead, so to be only scraping it by two points at the end was disappointing.
“It showed once again that we have a lot to work on and it was the same in the previous game against Tipperary, four points ahead going into the last few minutes only to make hard work of it. I think we’re switching off at the end of games as well as making individual errors.
“We were relatively happy at half-time, in control against a defensive team and I thought our running game was very good at the start of the second half. It must be a concentration thing and those individual mistakes had a big bearing, too. Fellas were making decisions that they weren’t at the start of the game, making silly decisions, and we seemed to be all over the place at the back.”
O’Rourke paid tribute to the All-Ireland-winning U20s who have joined the Cork senior panel.
“There’s a big panel there and the U20 lads have really added an extra confidence to the group.
“They are after bedding into the panel straight away. They are good lads, good players, and are serious about their football.
“Damien (Gore), Cathail (O’Mahony), Paul Ring, and Maurice Shanley, on this occasion, are all playing with serious confidence.”
O’Rourke said the older and younger cohorts are blending together well in the camp: “I’ve been playing a good while and at the start of the year we said it was up to the older players to set the example for the younger players and make them feel welcome.
“Not only that but we got to a level last year but we want to go way beyond that this season.
“We showed them the habits that helped us improve last year and they have taken it on themselves. They played the U20 championship with a bit of a swagger and they’ve just kicked on with us.”
The depth offered by those new players is needed given the number of injuries Cork have at present, he added: “You’ve top players like Ruairí Deane picking up a niggle last Thursday night and then you’ve Mark Collins and Brian Hurley coming back. Michael Hurley has also been out.
“Then we picked two more injuries (Sunday) with Liam O’Donovan and Luke Connolly. The next game will give someone else a chance to stake a claim.”