CORK had finished their warm-down on the pitch. Players were heading to the dressing-rooms. They had just put up 3-16 against Kerry. A 16-point win. And there’s a Munster final against Waterford to look forward to. Niamh Cotter wasn’t entirely happy though.
A few feet away manager Ephie Fitzgerald told the media he wasn’t overly pleased with the first-half performance. ‘Sloppy’ and ‘not at the standard we expect’ were some of the words he used.
Cotter shared the same opinion, especially of the first-half performance against a Kerry team that packed their defence.
‘We thought they might set-up defensively because they had to get a result here so we had anticipated that,’ the Glengarriff woman said.
‘I found myself getting quite frustrated with the game and we probably weren’t patient enough in the first half. We work so hard in training on patient build-up play and it wasn’t happening for us in the first half.
‘At half time Ephie didn’t need to say anything because we knew ourselves. In the second half there was no panic, we starting moving the ball around better and things came together for us.
‘We have a Munster final to look forward to but we have a lot to improve on.’
Even though Cork hammered Waterford by 3-22 to 0-7 already in the Munster championship, the counties meet in the final again on June 16th. Cotter expects a better Cork performance. That’s ominous for the Déise.
‘We are fairly intent on setting ourselves out as serious contenders for the championship this year,’ Cotter says.
‘We will approach it as any other game but we are getting close to the serious end of the championship and we want to up our standards because we know that performance today won’t be good enough.’
Cotter explained that this Cork groups has set high standards for themselves.
‘At the start of the year we set out to set our own standards and we judge ourselves off those. We don’t judge ourselves off any other team,’ she says.
‘You saw today the forwards and backs that came on, we have a savage bench and each of us is fighting for our jersey.
‘Doireann (O’Sullivan) spoke during the week – and she’s out injured at the moment – and she said how hard she is working to get back in because the forward line is insanely competitive.
‘That’s what’s driving us on, that competition for places.’