Peadar Healy regretted Cork’s inability to convert goal opportunities and bemoaned second-half injuries and yet couldn’t but marvel at Kerry’s strengths.
His side’s failure to find the net was evident during their Division 2 campaign when 19 chances went astray and that shortcoming raised its ugly head again yesterday.
“We’re hurting. That’s understandable. No excuses, Kerry well deserved their win. There’s no doubt about that. They started well in the first half, they started well in the second half. If we took the positives out of it, we created goal chances but we didn’t take them again. If you don’t take goal chances against Kerry you’re in trouble.
“We’d five or six goal chances. Don’t get me wrong, they got them as well. You’ve got to take your goal chances against Kerry. Especially as we’re not a high-scoring team. We’re looking to get 16 scores-plus — two or three of them have to be goals.
“We were going OK up to the break. I still felt at half-time we were in there with a shout. We just had to keep going at Kerry and felt if we got a chance or two of a goal in the first half they would come again in the second half.
"We got them but we didn’t take them and after the break Kerry finally got control of midfield, our kick-outs, and they seemed to target that well and they got scores from it and once they scored the goal...”
Hailing Kerry, Healy said: “They’re a good side, lads, they’re a good side. They’re a side that are going to take a lot of beating in the All-Ireland series, that’s for sure. The bench are good, they’re strong. I’d say their first wide came 10 or 15 minutes into the second half (42nd). Very clinical in front of goal. They dragged our half-back line around the place and got their inside forwards on a lot of ball.”
Cork had exhausted their bench by the 64th minute but Healy reported four of the changes were injury-enforced while they had to finish the game with 14 men as Seán Powter, who had picked up a leg problem, couldn’t be replaced.
“The forced substitutions — (Niall) Coakley, Ruairi (Deane), (Michael) Shieldsy, and (James) Loughrey — in the second half cost us a bit as well.”
Those replacements meant Colm O’Neill was kept on the bench, said Healy.
“We were unfortunate we’d to bring on backs. If we didn’t have to bring on backs, then we could have introduced the Colm O’Neills. Look, it’s no excuse. We’d love to have got him on but we couldn’t get him on.”
Looking ahead to their fourth-round qualifier on July 22, Healy knows his team must recalibrate. “There’s some good teams coming through there for that qualifiers. There’ll be a lot of soul-searching done. Back to the drawing board again, get the head down, and start working again.
“(Eoin) Cadogan getting a game under his belt, (Aidan) Walsh getting another game under his belt, Powter his first Munster final; that kind of experience.”
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