Conor Lehane accepts that Cork's victory over Waterford in Walsh Park on Sunday was a vital one.
The win moves the Rebels up to third place on a congested Division 1A table, with four points secured from a possible eight, and it would take an unlikely sequence of results in Round Five to deny them a place in the quarter-finals.
"This was really important, especially last year with the league the way it went," Lehane told The Irish Independent. "And it was an important game to respond to. When you are under pressure, these are the main games to respond to, to show we can do that.
"Obviously, the first league game [against Clare] was important, just to get a win under the belt, but when the stuff hits the fan, and you are able to respond to that and get a win, that is much more encouraging and that is when you get more confidence.
"We know we have the hurling, the skills, and the fitness will always come with training, but mentality is huge against teams which have done well. The second half was huge, we were really aware of it and zoned in on it. Waterford are so well organised as a team, they play so well together that you have to crowd them, and sometimes that works out."