Cork’s stomach for the fight, or lack of, was the chief factor in the county’s exit from the hurling championship, according to selector Pat Ryan.
“What’s cost us really was the desire to win the game. That was the overriding impact,” asserted Ryan.
“Wexford were well better. We have to hold our hands up — it was very disappointing. They worked way harder than we did. They showed fight and they wanted it more. Normally, the team that works the hardest will always win, and we were outworked today, again. Look, that’s not blaming the players — that’s all of us, we’re all in it together. We put players out there that were going to work hard, and we just didn’t work hard enough.”
“I suppose it goes back to our club hurling, and we’re just not at the races at the moment as regards the intensity that that’s played at. Unfortunately, it is a problem over the last six or seven years that we put in one good performance, the next time we won’t put in a good performance.
“We’d some very good performances by certain people all over the field, but, as a collective, we didn’t work hard enough. We didn’t play as a team.”
Ryan also pointed to Cork’s “sloppy” use of possession as a further blight.
“We looked very hungry coming out of the dressing-room. But we started badly; we wasted a lot of ball. We had six or seven wides in the first couple of minutes. We got very sloppy. There were 11 wides by half-time, and we’d another three or four over the sideline. That’s 14/15 … just too sloppy, especially against the wind.
“When we did waste the ball, I think fellas dropped their heads. We just never stuck at the game, never worked ourselves out of it. There were just too many times that we took the wrong option and fellas played as individuals.”
Was complacency an issue, perhaps?
“I don’t think so, no. All along we spoke about it… they didn’t seem to be (complacent). Fellas seemed to train well all week. We wasted ball and didn’t use the ball well enough, and I think they probably cleaned us out on breaks and on the ground. That’s all about desire and work-rate. As players, they’ll have to take that responsibility, but we have to take it as management as well.”
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