Brian, who had won an All-Ireland in his first season as manager last year, having previously served as deputy to Ann Downey, was understandably downbeat.
“The first half was a bit disappointing. I asked the girls for more energy and in fairness, they brought that to Cork, and in fairness to these girls over the last number of years, they’ve died with their boots on for Kilkenny camogie,” said Brian.
“I can’t ask for any more of them since I’ve been involved with them and unfortunately there are just days like this when you come up a little bit short and we’re just going to have to lick our wounds now.
“I just felt our forwards weren’t working hard enough in the first half, we build our whole team on work ethic and we just weren’t doing that and I think we started to win the rucks and the breaks more in the second half in fairness to the girls.
“We just started taking them on a bit more and we were a bit more direct with the ball and we were getting more joy out of that. We got a great goal and we even pushed on to go a bit up but we probably needed to go (more) up. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen today.
“I don’t think we hurled as well as we could, especially in that second quarter of the first half, we probably didn’t score too much in that quarter but I can’t fault these girls for the effort and they’ve been great champions. Any time you play Cork, there’s never been anything between them and, we got the lucky breaks last year and they got them today.”
Dowling hails the character of his players
“It wasn’t easy for these girls to lose three All-Irelands; it would have been easy to pack it in and retire but players like Collette Dormer, Denise Gaule, and Katie Power – what she’s gone through to get on the pitch is unbelievable. They’ll do anything to play, injections, whatever.
“Kellyann Doyle was only passed fit last night (after coming off in the semi-final eight days earlier with a shoulder injury). How she was able to play that match I’ll never know. She couldn’t raise her arm on Friday evening.
“I can’t speak highly enough of these girls – they’d die for the Kilkenny jersey. There’s a great bond in that group, but it’s so disappointing when you lose. You learn a lot more when you lose so you have to move on from here.”
Finals to play for
There are Kilkenny sides heading for the All Ireland finals though.
Kilkenny will face Antrim in the intermediate decider on Sunday 12th September.
The Cats booked their place in Croke Park with a gritty win over Meath in Nowlan Park on Saturday.
And the Kilkenny minors and Cork will meet at the LIT Gaelic Grounds on Sunday next at 5pm.
SCORERS FOR CORK: O Cronin 0-6(5fs); C Sigerson 0-5 (1f); K Mackey, F Keating, S McCarthy, L Collins 0-1 each
SCORERS FOR KILKENNY: D Gaule 0-7(fs); M O’Connell 1-0; K Power 0-2; K Doyle, K Nolan 0-1 each
CORK: A Lee, P Mackey, L Coppinger, M Cahalane, L Hayes, L Treacy, S McCarthy, H Looney, A Thompson, C Sigerson, F Keating, C O’Sullivan, A O’Connor, O Cronin, K Mackey. Sub: L Collins for O’Sullivan (50)
KILKENNY: A Norris, M Teehan, C Dormer, D Tobin, K Doyle, M Farrell, C Phelan, D Gaule, G Walsh, M Walsh, K Nolan, M O’Connell, S Fitzgerald, K Power, A Doyle. Subs: L Murphy for Fitzgerald (38), N Deely for Teehan (48), M Kenneally for A Doyle (55).
Additional reporting by Daragh Ó Conchúir at Croke Park