Net gains give grounds for Rebel optimism
By Donal O'Grady
Cork booked their place in the last eight of the All-Ireland series when overcoming a Wexford side who fought hard but lacked overall strength.
The Rebels were never in trouble and their management will take some positives from the game.
The team has shipped some criticism of late regarding the paucity of goal chances created, so finding the net three times is a massive improvement.
Luke O’Farrell ran a direct line for the posts and stuck the ball low into the corner for his first and followed up a high ball to knock in his second although Wexford custodian Eanna Martin will be annoyed with his positioning on that occasion.
The manner in which the third goal was scored is a huge positive for the Rebels. Goalkeeper Anthony Nash sent a scorcher to the net from a penalty.
Prior to this Cork’s penalty conversion was poor so Nash is a real find in this regard.
Nash now carries a threat of scoring when he stands over the ball and a perceived scoring threat always plants doubts in the minds of defenders.
Cork’s three goals came in the first half and although the winners knocked over 17 points after the break they didn’t threaten the Wexford goalkeeper thereafter.
Paudie O’Sullivan had two nice points to his credit but he must scratch his head on occasions wondering what he must do to get a goal scoring pass. Twice in the second half he took up excellent supporting positions.
On the first occasion Luke O’Farrell gave the pass to Conor Lehane who knocked over a point. After that Cian McCarthy elected to shoot under pressure when a pass to his right would have sent the Cloyne man through. There seems to be a lack of awareness of goal chances but constant replays of these opportunities in video clips might do the trick.
Cork hit a big score but they will worry about the concession of 2-17, especially in the way the defenders seemed unsure of themselves for Garrett Sinnott’s goal towards the end. Between the 26th and 30th minute I counted four runs from Eoin Quigley and Harry Kehoe from deep that should have picked up cover from midfield — against better opposition these errors would be punished.
I was surprised by the inclusion of William Egan for the injured Christopher Joyce.
Eoin Cadogan moved into the centre back slot. Egan was left out of the original line up. He has had a long season having been involved with UCC since last October and he may have been due a rest as he has been out of sorts of late and short of confidence. When Sean Óg Ó hAilpín came on, albeit for the last 10 minutes, he looked comfortable in his old stomping ground.
Not playing him from the start may have been a lost opportunity as Cork face sterner opposition the next day out and a short run out near the end may have been of more benefit to Sean Óg.
Coming out of Thurles the main focus of the fans was not the games played but the “draw”.
On Sundays in religious services the congregation is given time to pray silently for their own intentions.
Yesterday I’m sure Jimmy Barry Murphy included the request for Munster rather than Leinster opposition for the All-Ireland quarter-finals. Home