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Published: 10:04 | 17/7/16

Kerrigan happy with Cork turnaround

Paul Kerrigan says the naysayers helped inspire Cork's second-half comeback against Longford on Saturday.

Cork progressed to Round 4A of the qualifiers with a 2-09 to 1-06 win at Pearse Park, but the Rebels were reliant on substitutes Patrick Kelly and Colm O’Neill to help them turn round a four-point half-time deficit.

Cork scored 1-4 without reply in the opening 16 minutes of the second half, with O’Neill netting a 49th minute goal from a Sean Powter pass, then Kelly set up Ian Maguire’s 61st minute goal.

And captain Kerrigan said that the comeback was inspired, in part, by the criticism they received from local journalists ahead of the game.

"This team is at a bit of a crossroads," Kerrigan told The42.

"We’ve been in those positions before at half-time. Take Kildare last year, Tipp this year, a few bad league results and we’ve kind of folded in the past.

"We just knew this was going to be a tough game. We’d to find a way to win it and luckily we did. Coupled that with a bit of class that came on, it helps calm everything down, experienced heads and I think the lead was wiped out after ten minutes [of the second-half].

"We were sent an article during the week, I think it was local journalists were tipping Longford. The odds were pretty good for them.

"Even people down our own place didn’t fancy us too much. So we showed plenty character and it’s good to shove it down their throats."

Cork failed to score a point in the final 25 minutes of the first half, and Kerrigan admits the Rebels' performance was "a bit flat" after they failed to counter Longford's physicality.

"The big thing was just taking the ball into the tackle. It was quite tight out there. They were exceptional I thought in the tackle in the first-half. Very physical," he continued.

"The ref kind of left it go, which was pretty good. We just kept on going into the tackle and when you go into the tackle with no one behind you, you’re going to turn the ball over.

"We’d 11 turnovers in the first-half, which is pretty bad, five in the tackle. Everyone had to move it early, quick. We were very laboured in the first-half, went sideways, we were a bit tentative I thought.

"And once we upped the gears, I think there was only one team in it."

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