League final wipe-outs give Rebels a real cause
Lose a league final and be portrayed as a problem-laden bunch of inadequates, led by a manager bereft of tactical nous.
Don't reach the final and be regarded as a hard-wired group, focused on bigger prizes and whose manager is working with the precision of a NASA scientist.
Cork footballers and hurlers were scarified for their poor performances over the past two Sundays, but here's the irony.
When the footballers won the semi-final, Donegal's defeat was dismissed as irrelevant. You see, they were thinking of the Ulster opener against Tyrone and missing the league final was, claimed the punditry classes, part of the masterplan. That's alright then. No need to dwell on the four-goal giveaway against Cork.
As for Kerry, Mayo and various others that didn't reach the last four, they weren't bothered, apparently. Bigger fish and all that.
Cork hurlers' stock would be higher today if their stirring fightback against Dublin in the semi-final came up a point short.
Of course, they wouldn't have discovered as much about themselves, information which could be very valuable in the championship.
Derek McGrath said after Waterford's win on Sunday that Cork would probably be favourites when the sides meet again in the championship next month. He's right (Cork 10/11; Waterford 1/1).
Moral of the story: Cork are a long way from being beaten championship dockets in either code because of bad league final displays. Jimmy Barry-Murphy and Brian Cuthbert know that too.