BY JOE Ó MUIRCHEARTAIGH
IT must have been a tough dressing room to be in, such was were the depths that this Cork performance at plumbed to as the blood and bandages who more often than not beat the Banner County for fun in the big ball.
But that was once upon a time — this time it was a third successive Division 2 defeat at the hands of Colm Collins rejuvenated Clare charges, with the nine-point losing margin being the biggest reverse yet, not only in the three-year losing streak but in the 90 years since they began their National League rivalry.
It was no wonder that manager Ronan McCarthy didn’t take long to cut to the quick.
‘I could use a stronger word than disappointing but we’ll leave it at that,’ said the Douglas man, who lined out for the Rebels in the All-Ireland final of 20 years ago.
But it’s not All-Irelands that Cork are thinking about now — it’s the matter of survival of in Division 2 of the National Football League, a competition that the Rebels dominated at Division 1 level not so long ago when winning a three-in-a-row from 2010 to ’12.
With just one point from three games they’re in a bleak place.
‘We won the toss and elected to play with the wind and they had two goals with five minutes gone,’ continued McCarthy.
‘The two goals had a huge bearing on the game. That was hard, but the other side of that was that we had enough time to try and bring ourselves into it. The poor start didn’t help us, but it’s more than that. I don’t think we should focus too much on that.’
All because it wasn’t so much the defeat that disappointed the Cork boss, it was the manner of it, with Clare leading them a merry dance for nearly all the contest as they cruised to that record-breaking victory.
‘They are a good side and a well-coached side,’ admitted McCarthy, ‘but we are a lot better than that. We knew it was going to be a difficult game. We would have expected to give a better account of ourselves than that. We were very disappointed, but that’s it.
‘It’s a more difficult league than it was last year. What you’ll find is that if you put a couple of wins together you’re suddenly in the mix for promotion. You lose a couple of games and you’re involved in relegation. That’s where we are at the moment after three matches.
‘I’d get over that, but it was the nature of the performance that was the most disappointing thing. That’s it, we come back next week and we start again.’
Cork have to start somewhere.
Get engaged recently? Planning a wedding? The folks at Fernhill House Hotel and Gardens have everything you need for the perfect day. Read more