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Counihan demands more from 'workmanlike' Rebels

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25 May 2013; Graham Canty, Cork, in action against Andrew Lane, Limerick. Munster GAA Football Senior Championship, Quarter-Final, Limerick v Cork, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

25 May 2013; Graham Canty, Cork, in action against Andrew Lane, Limerick. Munster GAA Football Senior Championship, Quarter-Final, Limerick v Cork, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

25 May 2013; Graham Canty, Cork, in action against Andrew Lane, Limerick. Munster GAA Football Senior Championship, Quarter-Final, Limerick v Cork, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

Cork manager Conor Counihan reckons his side will need much greater intensity if they are to progress deep into the championship.

Counihan admitted that he had hoped for a sterner test from the Treaty men on Saturday night as they cantered through to a Munster semi-final meeting with Clare.

"We're reasonably happy, but we're under no illusions. The intensity of that second half... you wouldn't survive at that level so you've got to move it on a game," he said.

"It was very workmanlike and very positive. We did get the work-rate out of fellas, that's the most key, fundamental thing. Attitude isn't really a problem with this group."

His opposite number Maurice Horan was left dumbfounded by the gulf in class – he said he had been 'quietly confident' of causing an upset before the game.

Defeat has condemned his side to another year of the qualifiers on the back of a disappointing Munster campaign, but this one will be tougher than most to recover from.

"I was surprised. I never thought we were going to be that far behind. They are one of the best teams in the country.

"We were always going to be up against it trying to win it, but we felt we were in the right place, we felt we had a strong team out," Horan lamented. "The first goal, our heads went down too easily after it.

"After that, they just carved us up. We couldn't even win a break around midfield. I can't fathom it, can't put a finger on it."

Cork hit three goals in seven minutes before the break from Brian Hurley, John O'Rourke and Pearse O'Neill which resulted in 35 minutes of cruise control after the restart.

But Counihan was slightly annoyed as his side failed to punish some slack defending from Limerick as three good goal opportunities were left unconverted early on.

"We probably should have taken one or two more," he said. "We have to look at where we could have had more scores, could have been a bit more clinical... and the realisation that Clare in Ennis is going to be a totally different situation.

"We certainly expected a bigger challenge, but football is a funny game. Some days you go out and some team is playing well and the other team's performance isn't as good and the gap is significant.

"That can happen to any of us, I don't think it's a true reflection of where Limerick are at."

Prior to throw-in, Counihan was forced into two changes to his side with an ongoing Achilles problem robbing him of Eoin Cadogan, while a dead-leg forced Aidan Walsh to sit out the Gaelic Grounds tussle.

"Some guys had a few niggles and some guys had a bit more work to do but we have three weeks now and hopefully things will be competitive on the training ground," said Counihan.

"Aidan got a knock on Thursday night and we had hoped until the last minute that it would be recovered but it didn't."

Two splendidly struck dead balls from Damien Cahalane settled Cork and despite early scores from Ger Collins and Seanie Buckley indicating promise from the Treaty men, Cork soon took hold of the tie with their trio of goals.

Three half-time changes from Horan failed to change his side's fortunes as Cork began to focus on improving their tally in the points column.

Daniel Goulding hit three points from play, and Paul Kerrigan also got in on the act with two fine scores as Limerick tired.

Scorers – Cork: D Goulding 0-5 (1f), B Hurley, J O'Rourke 1-1 each, M Collins 0-3, P O'Neill 1-0, D Cahalane (1f, 1 '45'), P Kerrigan, F Goold 0-2 each, C Sheehan 0-1. Limerick: E O'Connor 0-3 (1f), G Collins, S Buckley, S Lucey, M Sheehan, J Galvin 0-1 each.

Cork – K O'Halloran 7; P Kissane 7, M Shields 7, D Cahalane 9; J Loughrey 7, G Canty 6, T Clancy; A O'Connor 7, P O'Neill 7; C Sheehan 7, P Kelly 6, J O'Rourke 7; D Goulding 8, B Hurley 7, P Kerrigan 7. Subs: F Goold 7 for Kelly (50), N O'Leary 7 for Canty (50), D O'Connor 7 for Sheehan (50), A O'Sullivan 6 for O'Neill (56), M Collins 8 for Kerrigan (58).

Limerick – D O'Sullivan 7; A Lane 5, J McCarthy 6, M O'Riordan 6; S Lavin 6, P Ranahan 6, P Browne 5; B O'Brien 6, J Galvin 7; J Riordan 5, T Lee 6, S Buckley 5; G Collins 5, I Corbett 5, E O'Connor 7. Subs: M Sheehan 6 for Corbett (h-t), D O'Connor 5 for O'Brien (h-t), S O'Carroll 5 for Lee (h-t), S Lucey 6 for Buckley (51), L O'Dwyer 5 for O'Riordan (56).

Ref – M Duffy (Sligo)

Irish Independent