Cork inside line hold the key
By Tony Considine
I’ve been going back over the records and I make it that Cork and Waterford have met 11 times in the championship since 2000.
Waterford have five wins, Cork have four, with two draws and in any of those games there was little or nothing between them.
Value for money then: you can always count on these two to produce the goods. And they don’t just have close games, they have good games providing great skill, great excitement, great entertainment.
Tomorrow I’m expecting more of the same, how could I not?
What I love about Cork and Waterford is they both play this game off the cuff, free-flowing hurling with no negative tactics. There are great stylists, on both sides, with great players.
What I love about these games also is that both teams bring great crowds with them, great supporters who know how to lift their team. I don’t know if that’s going to be the case tomorrow as these are very difficult times but I hope it is.
The bigger the crowd, the better the atmosphere, and that’s what players react to.
I was amazed that Cork lost patience with Stephen McDonnell as quickly as they did, after a poor game in the league final. Most of the Cork players underperformed that day but he was the one who suffered.
Now he’s back and I think that’s going to make Cork better.
He has two brilliant men alongside him in Shane O’Neill and Brian Murphy, who is back to his best.
Speaking of Brian, he’s meeting an old friend tomorrow, John Mullane. All on its own that’s going to be some battle and could even dictate who will win the match.
I’m not as convinced about the choice of Seán Óg. I’ve seen him play this year, I think his speed isn’t what it was, and as with Stephen McDonnell, I think William Egan can count himself unlucky here as he wasn’t doing badly.
Maybe Cork are just going for experience on the wings, in the full-back and half-back lines.
I do like the selection of Daniel Kearney in midfield, a fine athlete and a fine hurler. What’s more, Thurles will suit him.
For Cork, their half-forward line will be crucial tomorrow. Kevin Moran, Brick Walsh and Tony Browne were outstanding for Waterford against Tipperary, Cork are going to have to really step up to the plate here if they’re to get ball to their dangerous inside line. Lehane and the two McCarthys have a big job.
To Waterford. One man with a massive job tomorrow is Noel Connors. If John Mullane has a big challenge to beat Brian Murphy at the other end, Noel has as big a challenge to contain Cork’s captain Patrick Horgan.
Horgan has been the main man of the Cork attack and must be subdued. Another man with a big job is Liam Lawlor, trying to hold Luke O’Farrell.
Great individual battles in store then, including in midfield. Stephen Molumphy and Phillip Mahony did very well in the Munster final against Tipperary, Kearney and Cronin will have their work cut out here.
If Waterford continue to be as reliant as they are on John Mullane, and if Brian Murphy can contain John, then it’s Cork — such threat in that inside line.
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