Cork begin fightback with Laois task

Updated: Friday, 17 Jun 2011 08:58

Denis Walsh knows his side have a long road back this year
Denis Walsh knows his side have a long road back this year

By Rory Houston - @RTESundayGame

There is no such thing as a glorious defeat in Championship hurling, a statement that cannot play loudly enough in the ears of the Cork players going into this week's qualifier with Laois.

The sporting cliché that there is no shame in being beaten by the best is indeed a term used for those that have been shown up as inferior and weak.

Second-rate teams in this year’s Championship are sides that do not have to ability to go all the way and claim the Liam McCarthy cup.

For the Rebels, they must not take the defeat to Tipp as a sign they are unable to make the grade this year.

They showed enough in Semple Stadium on the day to believe they can compete with the likes of Tipp and Kilkenny.

In the middle of the second half Cork got back on level terms after looking dead and buried.

Denis Walsh must make sure that his players have the belief they can rise again.

That moment just before the hour mark where the Premier looked rattled, where picking out the reigning All-Ireland holders was difficult and where a home crowd looked invariably worried, is a simple place to start.

They can do more this weekend that 'just win' against a clearly inferior Laois team. Walsh will be keen to see a tighter defence and goals from his forwards, two things that were a factor in losing to Tipp.

Laois lost to Antrim almost five weeks ago in the preliminary round of the Leinster Championship.

That defeat to the Saffrons, who played with 14-men for a large part of the game, was a big blow to Brendan Fennelly and his tenure with the county.

Fennelly has done the right thing and called on his players to throw caution to the wind this weekend.

Unfortunately for Laois, it will prove in vain and this is the first step of an intriguing Cork fightback in 2011.

Verdict: Cork