Cork’s win over Wexford will obviously be accepted by all in the Rebel camp, but few will be happy with the 70 display, first among those will be manager Pat Ryan who spoke to the media after his side’s fourth win from four in the Allianz National League 2023.
ork came into the clash after a poor display against Westmeath in Round 3 and after almost a third of this one had failed to score – something that didn’t sit well with the man charged with bringing the good times back to Leeside.
“Obviously didn’t play well in the first half, especially the first 20 minutes,” said Ryan who has now seen his side go unbeaten since the start of the year.
“We struggled with the way Wexford were playing the game. We had a couple of chances to take points and we went for goals to just build a score as such. But delighted with the way our fellas battled it out and got a win again.”
Ryan was disappointed that his side have shown a regular flaw since the start of the competition and knows that things will need to change if Cork are to go far this year. common
“In all our games, so far for some reason we’ve been going behind but we’ve responded very well in all those games. But that’s an area – it’s a recurring theme now. We need to figure out exactly why we’re leaving teams get ahead of us I suppose is the question.”
Cork are now into the semi-final of the league with a game to spare and Ryan is thrilled that this offers his players more game time ahead of championship.
“It’s excellent for us because we have a bye in the first round of the Munster championship. It’s well documented that we’ve a couple of guys out with injuries that are coming back. There were 12 of them trained this morning above in Páirc Uí Rinn.
“A lot of them will be available to be on the bench against Clare especially and would be in line to start in a semi-final. They just need game time to get back so another competitive game would be fantastic for those fellas.
“That’s what you’re trying to do in the League is build a squad. We’ve given a lot of game time to a lot of fellas. We had 10 fellas playing today that were playing the 20s All-Irelands that we won.
“That’s a lot of fellas that have limited experience at this level. Building a panel is what we’re looking for because obviously we’ve four games in five weeks in the Munster championship. We’ll need to be able to use plenty of players in that.
“As regards the win in the end, I’d say many people would probably say Wexford were the better team over the 70 minutes.”
After the Westmeath win Ryan outlined that his plan was to get close to his starting 15 for the final two games of the league and now that Cork are through to the knockouts that plan seems to be pushed back a little.
“We are just trying to get them back fit now really but the league semi-final is now vital for us as we were hoping to have a lot of those lads back around this time to integrate them into these two games, but look, we are delighted now to be into the semi-final as that gives us an extra league game to help preparation for championship.
“The more we get on the field the better it is as the more competition we get in training the better for us all, and that is vital. We have four or five more back on Tuesday night and we will play an A v B game and that will give fellows more game time as well.”
Ryan will gladly take the win, but more importantly for the Sars man is the qualities his side are showing when their backs are to the wall.
“If you want to be an inter-county hurler then character is the most important thing, your character and your mentality is what we are looking for from the lads, but there are definitely areas that we need to work on, particularly why we are letting teams get a head start on us.
“Teams are setting the tempo for us at the moment and we have to get back at them but you won’t get away with that in Championship as teams will build up too much of a lead and they will be too strong as we head into championship so we definitely need to look at that and see why we are not starting as well as we could be.”
The previous weekend Ryan let players back to their clubs to play in the opening day of the league – a decision that Ryan feels paid off for all concerned.
“It was great to let the lads get back to their clubs as it was a break for them and great for them to get a break from us.
“In Cork it is probably different from other counties as we take the league very serious in Cork and clubs want to have their players available and last week was the only week we could give fellas back as we are out again on the 19th and the next rounds of the league was in April and then we are heavy into preparation for championship.
“If we didn’t release them for last weekend then they wouldn’t have been able to play with their club until after we were out of the championship and that is unfair on the clubs. Players came back buzzing to us after last weekend and that has to be a good thing.”