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Pat Ryan knows win against Offaly can help Cork hurlers build momentum

June 14th, 2024 7:30 AM

By Sean Holland

Pat Ryan knows win against Offaly can help Cork hurlers build momentum Image
Cork senior hurling manager Pat Ryan.

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WHEN Cork hurling manager Pat Ryan spoke to the media after the Munster SHC win over Tipperary a month ago, the Rebels’ fate was still up in the air.

While they had finished the round-robin campaign well, beating Limerick and then Tipp, those victories only served to counterbalance opening losses to Waterford and Clare.

With Cork not in action on the last weekend, they had to sit tight and hope results went their way – which they did, ensuring third place and an All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final spot.

To go out on the back of a triumph against the All-Ireland champions and then the biggest championship win over Tipperary since 1898 would have been tough but, equally, Ryan wouldn’t have had any complaints.

‘We didn’t deserve it,’ he said at the time, ‘we’ve lost two games and won two games.

‘We know we have potential, we’ve had potential for the last four or five years but just haven’t been able to bring it through.

‘It’s about getting that consistency. Everyone can see that, on a given day, Cork can put in any performance.

‘The really good teams – the Limericks the Kilkennys of the past the Dublins all those teams they performed – whatever the level is, it might below their level, but they’re performing every day.’

Now, the task is for Cork to back up those words as they resume activity away to Offaly on Saturday evening (5.15pm).

The Rebels are 1/50 with the bookmakers to progress to what would be a quarter-final clash with Dublin and they beat the Faithful County by 5-28 to 0-16 in Tullamore in the Allianz Hurling League in March.

It’s a chance to pick up where they left off and show that complacency is not an issue.

‘From our point, we generated great momentum after beating Limerick and Tipperary,’ Ryan said this week.

‘Obviously, we’ve had no game since then and you’re kind of outside the championship until you play again.

‘Our job is, first of all, obviously to beat Offaly, and secondly to generate real momentum.

‘The most important thing is to focus on ourselves and getting our performance right. We want to get that momentum back into our group and build that performance and that winning mentality within the lads.

‘We think that we’re in a good place. We’re obviously going to be really strong favourites but that’s up to us to go and get the result.’

Injury-wise, Cork are close to a full deck – only Damien Cahalane (calf) is a doubt while Robbie O’Flynn is back in contention after missing the Limerick and Tipp games.

The lightening of the schedule has allowed Cork to reset but they were in a kind of limbo in that they didn’t know until after last Saturday’s Joe McDonagh Cup final whether they would be playing Laois or Offaly.

The mission now is to drive on.

‘Obviously it’s a very intense few weeks, the Munster round-robin,’ Ryan said.

‘When you lose the first two games, it’s even more intense. Fellas put an awful lot into it so we gave the lads eight or ten days and we’ve been building it up again over the last five or six sessions.

‘The most important thing is that it’s hard when you don’t know who you’re playing. Obviously, Offaly winning on Saturday means that we have a target and that’s what we’re looking at.

‘Knowing who you’re playing, where you’re going to be playing and when you’re going to be playing makes it crystal-clear in fellas’ minds what we’re about.

‘We’re looking forward to that now next Saturday, obviously it’s a double-header as well. Offaly are going well after winning the U20 All-Ireland and getting back into the senior ranks for next year.

‘That’s going to be a huge game for us next year and we have to be ready to go.’

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