McLoughlin wants Rebels to develop 'that ruthless streak'
CORK hurlers pulled off a great escape in the Allianz league semi-finals but wing-back Lorcan McLoughlin opts for another film title to describe their performance.
"It was the good, the bad and the ugly," he says candidly of how the Rebels let the Dubs get a 12-point jump on them before Paudie O'Sullivan's goal and a late winner by Seamus Harnedy miraculously hauled them into Sunday's Division 1 final against Waterford in Thurles.
"It was no surprise that Dublin were going to bring that intensity, but they caught us a bit cold but there was no panic, even at half-time," the defender explains.
"There was always a sense that we were still in the game if we could keep the scoreboard ticking over.
"Halfway through the second half it really looked like we needed a goal and, in fairness, Paudie delivered right on cue. That was the pivotal point of the game.
"Momentum shifted and when it came down the home straight, lads showed huge leadership. Patrick Horgan, Seamus Harnedy and Conor Lehane pushed us over the line."
It may have been a sensational recovery but it left the Cork defence open to criticism again, not least for the way they let 'Dotsy' O'Callaghan slalom through for his goal.
McLoughlin accepts that Cork's defence does blow hot and cold but points to their good league performances in Salthill and against Clare. Getting Mark Ellis back at centre-back should also help them tighten up on Sunday.
Despite their Munster champions status, Jimmy Barry-Murphy's team are still accused of a lack of leadership and ruthlessness at times, which McLoughlin admits is a fair criticism.
"It is something in our game that we have to develop, that ruthless streak," he concedes.
"If that was Kilkenny or Tipperary (in the league semi-final) they would have got a goal and they would have finished us off, put us to the sword. That is something we have to develop, a ruthless streak.
"I think we have one of the best forward units in the country but maybe we have to go out with a mentality that if we are to win these big games we are going to have to score goals."
Yet he believes Cork must not get obsessed with chasing goals and simply have to take whatever scoring opportunities come their way.
"The last day we could easily have kept going for goals in the second half but the points were every bit as important in turning the tide as the goal," the Kanturk clubman points out. "When you are getting points you are getting momentum."
Sunday's final could be expected to produce some shadow-boxing given that the same sides meet again in a Munster SHC semi-final on June 7, but McLoughlin believes neither will spare the timber.
"It is a national final, there is silverware up for grabs and a medal that none of us have," he stresses.
"Cork haven't won the league since '98 so it's a huge incentive. I've no doubt that Waterford will go out the same way. Whatever teams loses on Sunday might take motivation out of that going into the championship but I don't think either team will look beyond Sunday."
Meanwhile, Cork footballer John O'Rourke dislocated a shoulder in last Sunday's league final defeat to Dublin.