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Ryan Byrne/INPHO The Cork boss was particularly pleased with his side's attitude.
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'I wasn’t sure we’d pull through but to come out with the win is a major bonus'
JBM enjoyed his side’s win over Clare.

CORK MANAGER JIMMY BARRY-Murphy praised his players’ character after they produced a powerful finish to outmuscle Clare in Saturday’s All-Ireland hurling qualifier clash.

The Rebels trailed by two points heading into the final 10 minutes at Semple Stadium but overturned the deficit to run out 0-20 to 0-17 winners and keep their championship interest alive.

In what was a tight and attritional contest in Thurles, Cork demonstrated resolve to stick with Davy Fitzgerald’s side and then pull clear down the final stretch.

“I thought our lads showed unbelievable character tonight,” Barry-Murphy said afterwards. “I thought coming up here it was going to be a phenomenal battle.

“They’re a great team with some outstanding young players, and I knew if we were going to win it was going to take a superhuman effort and some of our players played just like that.”

Patrick Horgan racked up eight points, including five from frees, but it was Bill Cooper who received special praise from his manager for a performance which typified Cork’s unrelenting work rate.

“There are so many players I thought played their hearts out tonight,” he continued. “At times, we looked to be hanging on with seven or eight minutes to go.

“I was so proud of the effort, I wasn’t sure we’d pull through but to come out with the win is a major bonus.

“I thought Bill Cooper was incredible. His work rate, his effort all over the field, it was a superhuman effort.

“Every team, no matter what level they’re playing at – Barcelona, Kilkenny, Tipperary – it comes from work rate, if you don’t have that you have nothing, and I thought our lads certainly brought that to the table tonight.

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Bill Cooper celebrates with goalkeeper Anthony Nash James Crombie / INPHO Bill Cooper celebrates with goalkeeper Anthony Nash. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

“Equally, I thought Clare were outstanding, it’s just we got those points at crucial stages.”

Cork will now face Galway in the All-Ireland quarter-final on 26 July but if they are to entertain realisitc hopes of defeating the Tribesmen at Semple, Barry-Murphy knows his forwards will need to improve their shooting.

Both sides were guilty of spurning scoring opportunities on Saturday with Cork recording as many as 20 wides on what, admittedly, was a difficult night for hurling.

“There were a lot of wides, they had a lot too. Some of ours weren’t very good. That’s something we definitely have to work on.

“We have to build again. We went to Wexford last week and we felt the win would bring us on a bit, but you’re not sure how much. We have to play Galway now, another super task for us but we’re there now, and if we keep improving we have a chance.

“I’m not just saying that. We know where we’re at, we lost to Waterford in the league final and the championship and that was a big setback for us. We wanted to rebound from that and build up confidence again.”

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