Patrick Horgan is confident Cork can carry their free-scoring form into the championship as they prepare for a date with All-Ireland champions Limerick.

Cork were the leading goalscorers in the Allianz Hurling League, hitting the back of the net 18 times as they narrowly missed out on top spot in Division 1A.

Horgan bagged three majors, the Cork captain finishing third in the scoring charts with 3-42, but he was quick to credit the performances of young guns such as Alan Connolly and Jack O'Connor, who hit four goals apiece.

"Jack and the lads have all matured," said Horgan.

"They're just finding out what works for them with their pace and off-the-shoulder running. They're realising how they can gain an advantage.

"We’ve a lot of fast fellas in our team and running gives them a little advantage, so that’s what they do and there’s goal chances coming from it.

"We’re not doing something crazy either. We constantly want to get better at scoring goals because for long enough we didn’t get any really."

Horgan was speaking at the launch of the Centra Community Matters campaign

On 3 July Cork come up against one of the meanest defences around. Limerick conceded three goals during the league, the same number they conceded en route to winning last year's All-Ireland.

Cork did net twice against the Shannonsiders earlier this month but it was not enough to prevent a disappointing defeat at LIT Gaelic Grounds, Limerick powering to an eight-point victory courtesy of a dominant first-half performance.

"I think that game will be long forgotten, we'll start off at nil-all again," said Horgan.

"At the same time, we were going down to Limerick hoping that we could give them a game and possibly win. We found out early on that it wasn't going to be that easy.

"As disappointing as our first half was, we had chances. We were competitive in the second half, that's about all we can say. We were a bit better.

Cork and Limerick meet again in the Munster Championship semi-finals in Thurles on 3 July

"The second half was really competitive from us. We’ll take the negative and work on it, but the positive that night would have been the second half. We held our own for a bit against them.

"Are there many chinks in Limerick’s armour? It’s hard to see. They’re strong all over the field. Their positioning always seems perfect.

"We've obviously a really tough task in two weeks but we've given them good games before, more or less all the times we've played them in league or championship - other than a couple of weeks ago. The last four years we've been really competitive against them.

"Overall we've probably done the best against them. We've beaten them a few times in the championship and they've beaten us a few times and they've been great games.

"I'd expect nothing other than that it'll go down to the end of the game and whoever can pull it out of the fire there."

Cork suffered a late collapse against Galway last weekend

Despite that reverse against Limerick, Cork remained on course to finish on top of the pile in Division 1A until the dying moments of the final round, when Galway rallied from seven points down to win at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

It was a frustrating finish to their league campaign but Horgan says Cork are on "the right path" heading into the championship.

"In the 62nd minute of the Galway game we were winning our side of the league. In the 70th minute we were fifth. That’s how competitive everyone is.

"We’d a lot more positives than negatives throughout the league. We’ve a bit to work on but there’s a lot of good. It gives us a bit of drive.

"Am I glad to have a three-week break between league and championship? I’d love to be playing this weekend again. Games are brilliant.

"It’s obviously a short enough lead-in to a championship game. You need your two or three weeks to prepare for such a high-intensity game.

"I feel we couldn’t be in a better place, having the three weeks leading into a game against the best team in the country. We’ll see on the day if we’re good enough."

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