Cork know they can’t be complacent heading into Saturday night’s crunch Munster Championship clash with Waterford at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Cork are coming off a huge win against Limerick while the Déise are currently at a low ebb, however, Patrick Horgan knows all too well that a good or bad performance could be right around the corner… for either side.
The Rebels learnt as much last month when they were soundly beaten by Tipperary just a week before toppling the All-Ireland champions.
“We played well against Limerick but a week before that we put in our worst performance of the year so we know there’s not much between playing really well and really bad.
“Obviously, it’s just something we need to keep on top of and don’t let it slip.”
Their seven-point win over Limerick two weeks ago was billed as a shock defeat for John Kiely’s men which may be fair given the form Limerick carried over from their All-Ireland win into this year’s league campaign, however, it’s important to note that their toughest games over the past few seasons have all come against Cork.
Horgan admitted it was a satisfying win over the All-Ireland champions but they knew they could do it based on recent meetings.
“It was to be fair. We took a lot of confidence from the previous year even though they beat us in extra-time in the semi-final. Like we were a bit up in the 63rd minute of that match, even before that, we drew with them in the park in Munster.
“They never had a game easy off us, we beat them in the league this year as well. We took a lot of confidence from the previous meetings. Knowing that we could do well against them. We knew how important the game was going forward.”
Having suffered the heartache of All-Ireland semi-final defeats in 2017 & 2018, Horgan admits Cork would be gutted not to get over the line in 2019, however, he is fully aware that they can’t look beyond Munster at present because there is still a fight to get out of it.
“We’d be gutted if we didn’t. But if you take it back to where we are now, we’ve got a game Saturday, if we lose that, talks of an All-Ireland are completely gone. How could you look past that? Qualifying in Munster is torture as well because every team is so competitive.
“There’s going to be two teams who stop playing in two weeks time. Probably both teams are capable of going to an All-Ireland final. You saw Waterford there, got to the final two years ago and haven’t qualified out of Munster since. That will tell you how hard it is and we know they’re a serious team. So before any big talks down the line, there is so much to be done before that. If we think past that, we’re in big trouble.”
The thoughts of two teams being out of the All-Ireland series in two weeks time seems harsh given the high standard across the board in Munster but it’s an occupational hazard that comes with the new round-robin system which most players seem in favour of.
However, it could be very different if you are going through a run like Waterford have the past two seasons.
“It’s good, we’ve had a good run of it the last two years but I’m not sure how good I’d find it if we didn’t go well against Limerick. On a run like that, it’s not a nice place to be but we’ve enjoyed it anyway, it helps having a game every week. A game every week is the right job, a game every four or five weeks was mad.”