Ciarán Sheehan has intimated Cork will use their Allianz FL Division 1 clash with Tyrone as a building block towards a grudge match against All-Ireland champions Donegal at Páirc Uí Rinn the following Saturday evening.
The Éire Óg sharpshooter registered 1-1 for the Leesiders in Páirc Esler last Sunday, including an additional time major which turned an inevitable loss into their first triumph of the league campaign.
However, Sheehan conceded Down were better and that the Rebels were extremely fortunate not to be preparing for a difficult assignment away to Tyrone still pointless.
“It was a huge relief to all of us that we were able to leave Newry with a win last Sunday,” Sheehan stated.
“It is always very difficult to go up there and get a result.
“To be honest, we felt we did not perform anywhere near our potential. Down did play the better football though, I think everybody would agree with James [McCartan] on that, too.
“At the same time I cannot stress how difficult it really is to go that far up the country and get the result you are looking for.
“Aidan [Walsh] worked very hard to force a turnover for us and from that we were lucky to get the goal that won us the game but we would have to be very happy with the way things worked out for us in the end.”
However, Cork can’t relax now, and travel north again this weekend to face Mickey Harte’s unit.
Tyrone, along with Dublin and Kildare, have maximum points and will provide another test on Cork’s capacity to progress to another league semi-final.
Interestingly, however, Sheehan suggested Cork will be using the game as a launch-pad for their assault on Donegal, a side the players obviously feel they have unfinished business with after the All-Ireland semi-final reverse last year.
“We have a difficult enough run of games in the league now and travelling up north for the Tyrone game for the second weekend in a row really would take a lot out of you.
“Tyrone are in great form but we are looking forward to it. Going up together as a team with the right mentality and getting a win would set us up quite well to play Donegal the week after, which is an exciting game for us to look ahead to.
“We felt we under performed against Donegal last year and I suppose we feel we owe them, one in a sense, and it will be hard for them to come down here to Cork and get a result, too.
“Hopefully we can get the right result, first and foremost, this Sunday though and we can concentrate on Donegal then with the groundwork in place.”
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