Fitzmaurice also denied any claims that the victory vindicated his decision to drop Kieran Donaghy for the Munster decider.
“Don’t think it was about feeling justified. We won the game, I’m happy. It was a hard decision and a big decision, we put a lot of thought into it,” he said.
“Kieran himself reacted very well, he barely missed out on starting and will be back in the mix for the next day. The lads have a week of county Championship now and it’ll be the players who are going well in training that we pick.”
Cork lost by just two points in the end – Daniel Goulding opted to point a late 45 when he might have been better trying to set up a goal chance – and that first half really hurt them.
Manager Conor Counihan admitted, “We just underperformed, didn’t get off the blocks quick enough. When you do that against Kerry or any team you’re going to be punished.
“I thought to be fair, in the first half, I thought they had most of the initiative. Then they kicked on and got the goal. You just can’t do that.
“We seemed to have difficulty holding on to the ball in middle of the field in the first half. Then we got on top there a little bit in the second-half and maybe the flow of the game started to come with us.
“We were a bit unlucky at the end with the few chances that might have ended up with a goal. But at the outset, when you give that kind of initiative to a team, you pay the price.”
Galway Hangs On Against Waterford
THE Waterford footballers came within a whisker of the summer’s latest big shock before eventually going down by just a point, 1-12 to 0-14, in their All-Ireland qualifier against Galway in Salthill on Saturday.
Only a late Michael Meehan goal saved the Tribesmen as he broke the hearts of Waterford fans and their manager Niall Carew.
He told reporters, “We had so many fellas playing well and then the goal leaked in. It came from second phase possession and that stopped us in our tracks and we are just gutted we are not in the next round.
“We are devastated. We worked so hard since the Kerry game. I supposed people forgot we were right in the Kerry game for 40 minutes.
“We knew there were positives from that game and we worked hard since the Munster semifinal and I suppose while we got a performance against Galway it wasn’t enough and I’m gutted for the lads.”
Galway boss Alan Mulholland admitted, “It was great to see Michael Meehan get the goal in the end. We had one or two chances in the first half but we didn’t convert them and they might have put a different slant on the game but we were just delighted and relieved to see Michael hit the back of the net with a couple of minutes to go.
“We are relieved, no doubt about it. We got the result we wanted, we definitely didn’t get the performance we had hoped. We managed to get out by a point, we are happy with that, we are in the pot for the next day.”