Kerrigan refusing to give up on promotion
IT was inevitable with many of Cork's 2010 All-Ireland-winning squad calling time on their inter-county careers in recent years that the Rebels would struggle to scale similar heights, but the speed of their fall is increasing with each passing week.
At last year's Cork convention, chairman Ger Lane stated that quality players were still available to football boss Peadar Healy to help make them "much more competitive," and he demanded a "major improvement" from all involved. Lane also said that "questions have to be asked if it doesn't happen in 2017" and while it's only February, the signs suggest that this could be another long year.
It wasn't the six-point defeat to Kildare which set alarm bells ringing, even though it could have been even more comprehensive, but the nature of it in a performance bereft of style and substance, with captain Paul Kerrigan admitting they played second fiddle in all sectors to the rampant Lilies.
"Every aspect of our game - we have our stats - right from our own kick-out, breaking ball, turnovers, putting the ball over the bar - all very, very poor. We just weren't up to scratch. We just weren't at the races," said Kerrigan.
"They were outnumbering us on the breaks and then when we got to grips with that in the second half we just really weren't putting the ball over the bar. They were hitting us every time they went up the pitch with a shot.
"They could have scored another goal or two, like. We were very comprehensively beaten, which is hugely disappointing."
After falling out of the top tier last season, two trips on the road to open their Division 2 campaign has hardly been the ideal opening for their promotion bid, but Kerrigan is still optimistic as Fermanagh visit Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday week.
After drawing with Galway on the opening League weekend, the Rebels will need to get motoring soon, however, or face the prospect of Championship preparation with another cloud hanging over them.
"You probably couldn't have had a harder start to the League. We'd have expected ourselves to win both games. We probably left it behind last week and were certainly the second best team there this time," said Kerrigan (30).
"It's not out of the realms of possibility to get promoted either so we're going to have to win our games and maybe go five for five.
"Anyone can beat anyone. You maybe would have expected Derry to have won at home but Clare got a result up there and Kildare went to Meath and gave them a good beating.
"We probably should have beaten Galway so anything can happen. We just have to win our next game and get two points on the board. We haven't done it yet."