CORK manager Denis Walsh described referee Johnny Ryan’s decision to award Waterford a crucial late free as “funny.”
Eoin Kelly’s 20-metre effort was blocked away by the massed Cork ranks on the Killinan End goal-line but veteran Tony Browne followed up to bang home a dramatic equalising goal.
Walsh reflected: “We looked to have the game in the last couple of minutes. It looked like a funny decision to me. It’s hard to know what it’s for. We’ll have to come back and do it again next week.”
The sensational stalemate at Semple Stadium was the first time Cork and Waterford had drawn in a Munster hurling final since 1931. !
“Yeah, there’s nothing much between Cork and Waterford. “Both teams had their high points today. I think Waterford dominated us in the first-half but we needed to pick up a gear after half-time.”
Cork have now played three games in this year’s Munster championship, which in other years would have been enough to guarantee silverware.
Walsh said: “We know it’s highly competitive. We’re in the thick of it now, the business end of the season. Nothing less than fifth gear will do.”
Initial reports from the Cork camp suggest Seán Óg Ó hAilpín and Jerry O’Connor were forced off with hamstring injuries, which will leave the pair doubtful for next Saturday evening’s replay (7pm).
Walsh mused: “Nothing has changed. It’s exactly the same way it was at a minute to four. Maybe we know a bit more about Waterford and they know a bit more about us. Essentially, we’ll get at it again next week.”
A straight-talking Walsh described his team’s first half performance as “disaster.”
The Rebels trailed by just a single point, 0-6 to 0-7, and were in serious trouble minutes after the restart as Waterford surged four clear. But a dream spell for Cork between the 53rd and 55th minutes yielded two goals as Walsh’s team surged five points clear — 2-12 to 0-13.
Eoin Kelly’s superb 58th minute goal revived the Waterford challenge and Walsh insisted: “We conceded a goal, if we had held off another five minutes that would have done the trick.”
Overall, Walsh described Cork’s performance as “patchy,” adding: “Waterford dominated us for 65% of the time, if not 70. We need to up the ante really.
“They had that bit of intensity which we didn’t match. We did match it as it turned out, during the second-half. That was the difference really but if you’re playing in third gear, you can’t hope to win those kind of games.
“We probably just couldn’t get into our stride early on. Eight minutes into the second half, we were four points down and looked in dire trouble. I thought we were excellent for the next 20 minutes.”
Deep in stoppage time, Cork were still on course for the win before referee Ryan penalised Brian Murphy for an aerial clash of hurleys with John Mullane.
Walsh, however, was unconvinced. He said: “If anybody here can tell me what it was for...as of now, I can’t really comment on that.”
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