CORK minor football manager Bobbie O’Dwyer had no excuses for his side’s defeat, acknowledging that Kerry’s midfield dominance was the platform for their 16-point win.
The margin of defeat is now a concern to the Macroom native, as Cork could win their game next Wednesday against Clare or Tipperary (who played on Wednesday night) and still end up missing out on a place in the provincial final.
‘It was very disappointing,’ he said, ‘we didn’t get out of the blocks at all.
‘We played second fiddle all night, we just couldn’t get our hands on the ball out around the middle. We got decimated and it put our backs under savage pressure and then our forwards weren’t getting a good supply of ball.
‘I just didn’t see it coming. We had prepared for it and it just didn’t click for us on the night.’
‘We just couldn’t get our hands on the ball. It was difficult out there and, for some reason, the heads just seemed to drop.
‘We were taking bad decisions when we shouldn’t have been. It’s hard to explain.’
All of the pre-game signs had been positive, but Kerry’s ruthlessness during the second half saw them make life difficult for Cork.
‘They’re a terrific group of young fellas and they worked extremely hard,’ O’Dwyer said, ‘this is not their natural performance.
‘Great credit to Kerry, they put us to the end of the fork, but I just didn’t see it with the boys.
‘They are much better than this, but this puts us under great pressure now with scoring difference coming into the game the next day.
‘Kerry have all the aces. They can afford to lose the last game and scoring difference could cause a problem for us in this competition.’
Whereas recent years have seen Cork suffer Munster semi-final defeats which signal the end of the year, this time there is at least an opportunity to regroup for next week.
‘We have another chance,’ O’Dwyer said.
‘It’s entirely down to ourselves to get over the next hurdle. We just have to pick the lads up and look forward to the next game, whether it’s Clare or Tipperary.
‘We’ll see then how the last game goes, because scoring difference is going to be a challenge for us now.
‘We’ll certainly be working at picking them up. They are only young lads but you only get one chance at things in life and you have to grab it.
‘It’s something we’ll be working on from here to next week.’