CORK hurling captain Kieran ‘Fraggy’ Murphy says “over the last few years fellas were used to a free-flowing games between Cork and Waterford, but on Sunday it was a lot tighter, a lot more tactical around the middle of the field. Players were finding it hard to get a bit of space — that was true of both teams.”
Murphy didn’t see Cork’s two second-half goals as sufficient to see the Leesiders home.
“When you’ve so much time left on the clock, particularly in hurling, being ahead by a few points doesn’t mean a whole lot because one goal can bring a team right back into a game.
“Eoin Kelly got a great goal and that brought them right back into it, they had the momentum at that stage. But having said that we’d be happy enough with how we reacted to that, we pushed on again and got our noses in front again by a couple of points.
“We got ourselves in a great position to win it, but unfortunately we didn’t take that opportunity.”
Though Waterford recovered to level the game, Murphy doesn’t they gained the initiative with their late equaliser.
“No, they’re in the same position we’re in.
“Obviously they’d be delighted with getting the draw because they were the team which was behind towards the end of the game, and they’ll look on Saturday as a chance to improve their performance — and to prove themselves all over again. It’s all to play for.”
Waterford selector Pádraig Fanning agreed with Murphy.
“I wouldn’t think that either team really took the initiative from the drawn game.
“I know that Cork were ahead and we equalised, but it’s not like Cork were dominating the whole game and then got caught on the line.We had a lot of play at different times in the game — we got a few points after half-time and if we’d kicked on then we might have been in a stronger position towards the end, but Cork could say the same. They were five points up at one stage before we battled back.
“I don’t think it’ll have any bearing on the game next Saturday, that any team will go into the match at an advantage. Each game you’ve got to go out and win anyway. Just because we got a goal at the end of the drawn game it doesn’t mean we’ll win, and just because they were ahead almost at the final whistle it doesn’t mean we’ll win.”
Fanning added that big calls such as the replacement of Liam Lawlor will have to be made again.
“We were happy enough with the way things had been going up to the point when we took Liam off, he’d done a fine job but every day is different.
“He’d picked up a yellow card and I suppose there might have been a slight worry that he’d pick up another one, though we didn’t feel he was doing much fouling during the game.
“It was more a safety move than anything, but always in a game if you make a few switches it’ll take the players a minute or so to get used to where they’ve moved to, and that might have unsettled us for a couple of minutes to get ourselves organised again.”
Fanning noted that that was when Cork struck for their goals.
“Yes, unfortunately that was the time Cork came into the game, though I don’t know if that happened because of our switches, whether it was coincidence or not.
“But Cork were going to have a period of dominance in the game at some stage, it just came at that particular point in the game.”
Murphy said Cork will need an improvement tomorrow night.
“If you went through the team you’d have to say a lot of us didn’t play up to par. If we repeated that on Saturday night it just wouldn’t suffice.
“All round we’d need a big improvement — against that we know that we’re better than what we showed on Sunday in Thurles.
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