Cork were immense yesterday. The young lads really stood up to the plate and took the game to Tipperary. They showed no fear, and kept it up for 70 minutes.
Kieran Kingston said afterwards that he picked the team on form, rather than a specific youth policy.
They were the best players available, and boy did they deliver.
The future looks bright for Cork if they can keep their feet on the ground and keep that level of performance.
It’s hard to know if they can keep that level up. Throughout the league, there was no consistency with Cork.
But the old questions will be raised again if they don’t perform.
If they can get consistency into their play, they can be serious contenders. That’s what Kieran Kingston and his selectors have to do – keep those guys grounded.
I questioned Tipperary’s ability to manage expectation before the game. It is now a huge cause for concern.
After the League final, you thought they would have a kick in them. They were flat, not to take away from Cork’s performance. Michael Ryan said Cork had more energy after the game.
Maybe this is the same Tipperary as we’ve seen in recent times; they are happy with one All-Ireland every few years.
It’s now back to the drawing board. Michael Ryan will have to shake things up, and may have to make a few hard calls with a few of the more established players.
Seamus Callanan wasn’t up to his usual high standards for large parts of the game. Michael Breen in the middle of the field performed well, but others went missing.
Maybe it’s time for Michael Ryan to make a few hard decisions.
They are definitely still All-Ireland contenders, but the qualifiers could be difficult.
It worked a treat for them in 2010, after they lost to Cork. There’s no reason why it can’t work again, but every player needs to look at themselves and be honest with themselves.
They’ll know themselves that this performance was not good enough to win yesterday, and it certainly won’t be good enough to win an All-Ireland.