Cork football captain Paul Kerrigan acknowledges that the current side are probably third in importance behind the county hurlers and the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh in the minds of Leeside fans.
However, he is hopeful a good performance in Saturday’s All-Ireland SFC round 4A qualifier against Mayo in Limerick (5pm) can help to turn their fortunes around. It’s possible that more Cork people will be in Páirc Uí Chaoimh for the hurling quarter-final between Tipperary and Clare than in Limerick on Saturday, but that doesn’t faze Kerrigan.
“I’d say it’s probably guaranteed that that’ll be the case, but what can you do?” he says.
“We’ve had good support; against Tipp the fans really got behind us in the second half and there was a big Cork crowd in Killarney.
“It’s up to us to build a connection by playing well on the day, like the hurlers have done and it has really steamrolled.
“We’re behind the stadium and the hurling at the minute but it’s up to us to put in performances as well. Mayo will have a big crowd no matter who they’re playing or where they’re playing, so we’d be up against it no matter what.
“But if we can get a result, you never know from there what could happen.”
While Cork suffered an 11-point reversal against Kerry in the Munster final, there are some positives to take.
“We went back nearly straightaway,” he says, “we were back on the field by Wednesday night.
“It was a good, tough session. We obviously reviewed it the following week and then prepared for Mayo last weekend.
“We created nearly just as much chances as Kerry. I think they created 29 chances and got 1-23, so 24 scores out of it. That was fairly phenomenal.
“We’ve been creating chances throughout the year, it’s just a matter of improving our conversion rate. Defensively, we thought we got bodies back out around the middle third but we didn’t get enough hands on Kerry and let them play from there and then didn’t get enough hands on their two dangermen inside either.
“In the first half, it was four-nil after four minutes and then the rest of the half was seven-all. Then in the second half, it was five-nil after five minutes, so that’s a nine-point head-start.”
Cork will be without Niall Coakley while Michael Shields, Ruairí Deane and James Loughrey are being monitored after injuries in Killarney. The Rebels’ opponents will also be under pressure.: “They might see us as a step up from Derry and Clare but they opened them up and created good chances,” he says.
“Since they lost to Galway, they’re under pressure. They’re in knockout mode, they’re obviously looking to win the All-Ireland so that’s six games you have to win.
“It’s kind of now or never, almost, for a lot of them. Hopefully, if we get a good start and put them under pressure, maybe doubts might start creeping into their minds.”
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