Tipperary will fancy their chances of turning over Cork for a second consecutive summer after watching the Rebels scrape past Waterford, according to Cork selector Eoin O’Neill.
No doubt but there were certain members of Liam Kearns’ management in attendance at Fraher Field and if they felt back-to-back championship wins over Cork was achiievable before this Munster quarter-final scare, then, according to O’Neill, “they’ll probably fancy it a bit more now”.
The Premier County are the visitors to Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday week and O’Neill is adamant the home outfit will need to improve “drastically” to reach a Munster final.
“If we think only about Tipperary and the things we didn’t do well here then we are on a hiding to nothing. We have to really steady the ship. We know we are capable of doing better than that.
“We have a lot of work to do. We are under no illusions. We have to get our feet back on top of the ground because they were nearly knocked out from under us. This was a major fright. No matter if you win the game by a point playing well or win by 20 playing poorly, you want to go out and try and perform a bit better than what we are doing there. You want to be performing.
“We played too narrow at times. We didn’t have enough width. When we did get a bit of width that is where our scores came from.”
The positives, he continued, centred on this Cork team coming out on the right side of an arm-wrestle. That hasn’t been the case for a while.
“We got a couple of very good scores right there at the end from Donncha O’Connor. We had a bit of experience there. We came through a tough battle. We haven’t come through one of them in a while. It might be a Division 4 team, but at the same time, we still came through it with 14 men. That’s important for the development of this team. We’ll have to look at that as a positive. It was a tough game. Ten minutes to go, it was in the melting pot. Thankfully, we pulled through. It is relief.”
O’Neill wasn’t sure about the straight red card shown to Alan O’Connor for a high challenge on Brian Looby with four minutes remaining.
“You’d have to watch it on the video afterwards. It is what it is. They made a fairly instantaneous decision on it. I thought they could have got a red card in the first-half as I thought the John O’Rourke one was a bit pre-meditated. John O’Rourke had the ball in his hand and he nearly got his head taken off. You win some of them and you lose some.” Moreover, he didn’t seem impressed a couple of U21 club games have been pencilled in for next weekend involving members of the Cork panel.
“The county board are after putting U21 fixtures on next week so a couple of guys have to go away and play them. That’s not easy. People are giving out about fixtures in different counties. Michael Ryan was giving out about Tipp and all that kind of stuff. We’ll only have 10 days with some of these guys. It is not easy.”
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