CORK star Orla Finn felt that the Rebels could take positives from their Lidl NFL Division 1 clash with Dublin, despite losing by 3-9 to 1-14.
The All-Ireland champions have struggled to beat Cork when the counties have met in the championship but they held out for victory in Croke Park despite a strong comeback from the visitors. Finn isn’t getting too downbeat, though.
‘We were disappointed to lose,’ she says, ‘but when we sit down and reflect on it, we’ll see that there were bits we did well and bits we can improve on.
‘It’s still early in the year, only the middle of February, and there are always going to be things to work on. There are positives to take, we played well in parts of the game and we’ll take confidence from them.
‘We’ve lost to Dublin before in the league, so we wouldn’t be panicking from that point of view and they probably won’t get too excited either.
‘We were good at the start of the first half and the end of the second half and that’s the kind of form we need to maintain all through games.’
Given that they trailed by eight points early in the second half, Ephie Fitzgerald’s side could have allowed Dublin to sear away from them, but they clawed their way back into the game and Finn believes that will give the team heart.
‘Definitely,’ she says, ‘to nearly come back from that much down is a very big positive.
‘In the first half, we lost our shape for a time, I don’t really know how it happened, and Dublin started picking off points.
‘We settled again though and there was great spirit shown in the second half to reduce the lead, there was a lot of hard work and we nearly got a result.
‘Dublin had a lot of players back and they were hard to break down so we had to show patience but that worked well.
‘Playing in Croke Park was a benefit too. There were a few girls who have been on the panel for some of the All-Irelands but didn’t get on the pitch.
‘It was the first team to play there for a good chunk of the team and it’s a big stage to perform on, you can never play too many games there.’
Cork’s next outing is at home to Westmeath on Sunday week.
‘We’ll train away before that,’ Finn says, ‘some of the team will be playing with their colleges in the O’Connor Cup and Giles Cup.
‘They’ll be getting important game-time so hopefully that should stand to them, and a lot of the rest of us will be playing league with our clubs.’
For Finn and Kinsale, that means a first outing at senior level as they take on Éire Óg in the county league.
‘It’ll be a huge occasion,’ she says.
‘We’re all just really looking forward to it so much. I never thought that I’d get the chance to play senior with my club, it’s a great achievement and we want to make the most of it.’