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New Cork hurling boss Kieran Kingston was pleased by the character his side showed during the 0-20 to 1-14 defeat to Waterford at Pairc Ui Rinn on Saturday.
The victory moves the Deise clear at the top of the Division 1A table, but Cork could have grabbed an unlikely point at the death following an injury-time Patrick Horgan goal, with substitute Paudie O'Sullivan almost netting a late equalising goal deep into added-on time.
It was a far improved Rebels showing from last Sunday's six-point defeat to Galway at Pearse Stadium, and Kingston was delighted by the spirit his team showed against Derek McGrath’s high-fliers.
"A lot of people questioned the character of this team after last Sunday, but I think the lads showed tonight why we didn't make a lot of changes - there's a lot of character and fight in this team," Kingston told Setanta Sports.
"We are disappointed that we lost the game, because we obviously wanted the win and the two points from our first home game, but I thought the attitude, the work-rate and the way they stuck to the gameplan we worked out was fantastic."
Deise manager McGrath feels his young side need to keep the focus on improving, despite their strong start to the National Hurling League campaign.
"People sometimes don't understand the nature of the opposition we face, and that Cork are a very good and strong team,' he told Setanta Sports.
"We were very happy to be in a comfortable position midway through the second half, but there is loads to work on going forward. We are no means the finished article."
Waterford's Maurice Shanahan was shown a straight red card after the 66 minutes of the match, and McGrath says he will watch footage of the incident before deciding on any further action.
"Discipline is a massive part of what we are trying to achieve, so we will review it and have a look," he continued.