It was a case of job done for Jack O’Connor yesterday in Thurles with victory over Tipperary and a spot in the Munster semi-final in Cork secured.
The performance may not have been something to eulogise about, with a few shortcomings glaringly evident. O’Connor had no difficulty in accepting that and wore the look of a man keen to move onto the training ground and search for improvements over the next fortnight.
“It’s fairly obvious that it wasn’t as fluent a performance as we’d have been hoping for. I just thought we turned over a lot of ball. We were sloppy in possession. We were trying to be too elaborate and should have been more direct. We were a yard off the pace that we needed to be at.
“It certainly gives us plenty to work on and that’s no bad thing. We know that won’t be half good enough to take on Cork in a couple of weeks. We hope to improve and I think this game will bring us on. It’s six weeks since we played our last game. We were rusty. But it was a good workout and we’re looking forward now to the Cork game. We were a bit off it, we’ll work on that for the next few weeks.”
O’Connor reacted to the situation during the second half by wheeling out the heavy artillery. Kieran Donaghy made a noticeable difference in influencing the play after being brought on in the 45th minute. The omission of the Austin Stacks player had provoked debate before the match yet O’Connor had no interest in speaking on the issue when questioned afterwards.
“We won’t go picking the team here again now, will we, after it being picked already? We’ll leave that one off now. He (Donaghy) came on and made a difference. We used five subs and they all did well. If we had the option of using a couple more out there, we’d have done that as well. It was a very hot day. It was good to be able to bring subs on that were able to make an input. We’ll have to look at the team again.”
O’Connor was eager to pay tribute to the challenge Tipperary had posed, pointing out the difference in the margin separating the sides at the final whistle in comparison to meetings between the counties in recent years.
“The last couple of years we’ve been beating them by 11 or 12 points and today they halved that to six. Their management have obviously done great work with them. They put it up to us, they were dogged and spirited and showed good heart. They were in the game right until the end.
“The Cork match is a great game now to look forward to. Obviously we have to improve because that display won’t be worrying Cork too much. But there’s improvement in us and hopefully that will come in the next two weeks.”
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