"We weren't getting anywhere": Conor Lehane explains Cork's need to refocus before Championship

The Rebel forward was on target as Cork beat All Ireland champions Tipperary in Thurles

Conor Lehane

Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Conor Lehane admits players on the Cork panel 'called each other out' ahead of this year's hurling championship and says the county needed to refocus ahead of the summer series.

Cork have been viewed as underachievers in recent years as Tipperary, Kilkenny and, to a lesser extent, Galway and Waterford, emerged as the country's elite hurling panels.

The Rebel county today produced one of their finest performances in recent seasons to see off All Ireland champions Tipperary.

Free-scoring Lehane says that over the past number of years the county has been "going through the motions" and this is something they needed to address.

"That [result has] been building up for the last couple of years to be honest," he told Newstalk Sport's Oisin Langan. "We've been zoning in on what we needed to do since the start of the year.

"We were going through the motions the last couple of years, but we really called ourselves out at the start of this year. It's a huge honour to perform on a day like this."

Lehane says players demanded more from each other at the start of the year.

"We said we were here the last couple of years and we weren't getting anywhere. We seemed to be going down each year. We asked ourselves what we were doing this for. 

"This is just one game. We're not world beaters by any means. There are another couple of games to get through before we start getting ahead of ourselves."

He also praised the influence of the backroom staff and the management team, explaining their support had brought the panel closer together than before.

"They backed us time and again. They know what we can do. When you have the confidence of the backroom team behind you, it brings the team even closer together. That showed today.

"Anything outside of the team or the management it isn't existent to us. When you're part of a team you can't take in what everyone says from the outside. It's a mental thing. If you take it all in, your head would be wrecked going into a game. You wouldn't be able to relax."

Tipperary's Ronan Maher and Conor Lehane of Cork. Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan