Two-week break has come at the right time for Cork, says Eoin O’Neill

Cork selector Eoin O’Neill admits the players and management require the two-week break between the weekend qualifier victory and their next backdoor game scheduled for Saturday week.

Wins over Limerick and Longford came in the space of seven days and the extended gap couldn’t have come at a better time, he acknowledged.

“We probably need it now because that was a tough, bruising encounter. It was fairly physical on a tight pitch. We’re delighted for the lads. We’ve taken a bit of criticism, rightly or wrongly, but criticism is criticism.

“The last two games, they’ve been focusing on themselves to try and get it right and it’s all down to them.

“That was a team performance and we’re delighted for them.”

Although captain Paul Kerrigan conceded the Cork team were “at a crossroads” going into Saturday’s game, he revealed a stinging newspaper article had helped motivate the players.

“We were sent an article during the week, I think it was local journalists who were tipping Longford. The odds were pretty good for them.

“Even people down in our own place didn’t fancy us too much.

“So we showed plenty character and it’s good to shove it down their throats.”

O’Neill was delighted the players responded to the brickbats that have been flung at them.

“The lads got their win out of it and we’re delighted for them. They had to show bottle in the second-half. I suppose they’ve been questioned a little bit on that and we’re delighted for them.

“We were calm at half-time. At the end of the day, we were only two scores down. We turned over a little bit too much (in the first half) we felt.

“We got Paddy (Kelly) on the field and he changed that around for us a little bit, and we just retained the ball a bit better.

“It gave us a little more time on the ball and you saw the result of it then as we started to express ourselves a little bit better. That was the difference.”

O’Neill said Alan Cadogan and Aidan Walsh, who came into the panel seven days ago after their commitments with the hurlers had ended, will come into consideration again for the next outing.

Neither were included in the 26-man match-day panel that travelled to Longford with Walsh lining out for Duhallow’s hurlers that same evening.

“Like everyone else, we’ve said all along, it’s an open thing and they’re in the mix now,” said O’Neill, “so everybody has to drive on, everybody has to earn their rights on this panel.”


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