Diarmuid O’Sullivan says disgruntled Cork hurling fans were 'an absolute disgrace'

Cork legend Diarmuid ‘The Rock’ O’Sullivan has hit out at the county's 'fickle' fans after yesterday's All-Ireland semi-final defeat by Limerick.

The GAA star said he confronted some fans directly after the match.

"Unfortunately, that's the way Cork supporters are and I've said it before, they're very fickle," he told Paddy Power News.

"Cork’s only aim yesterday was to make an All-Ireland final, they weren't trying to lose that game by four points. Limerick had more energy, they used the ball better and look at the quality of ball their inside forward line got - it was inch perfect.

Diarmuid O'Sullivan

"But this 'bottler' thing disgusts me. If you are loyal to your team, you are loyal to your team - but again I'm not surprised.

I was walking out of the stadium after, there was two Cork lads there and they were having a right go. I actually had murder with them and I looked the two of them in the eye and told them they were an absolute disgrace. There's no place for it, but that's the world we live in. You can't get away from it.

Paddy Power GAA ambassador, and columnist said that the Cork players were sloppy on the day, but added the referee "won't be on the Cork Christmas card list".

"The Cork wides were a huge factor, they had 17 of them in total. It was sloppiness. Cork's wide tally was not healthy.

"There was a period in the second half when Cork were up by four to six points and they were comfortable, then within a nine-minute window the management made three substitutions. They brought on Mark Ellis, Robbie O'Flynn and Tim O'Mahony.

"It upset the balance and rhythm of the Cork team. Did any of the three of them offer anything to the game after? It was three changes too quickly. It just killed the momentum. That period hurt Cork and they never recovered from it.

"Also, let's be honest, the referee Paud O'Dwyer won't be on the Cork Christmas card list either. It was the timeframe from the start of the substitutions on that did the damage for Cork."

O'Sullivan said the semi-final should have gone to a replay.

"The Leinster final went to a replay, but the All-Ireland semis don't for some reason.

"Look, I'm not just saying this because Cork are out, but it's the biggest competition in our sport and the players are entitled to a replay after putting in such a titanic effort."

He criticised the Cork management for making three ill-judged substitutions.

"Cork's lack of impact from the bench has caught up to them. It's something the management should have addressed and said 'look, how do we make this stronger'. We see what Cork had to reintroduce in extra-time, [Shane] Kingston had to come back on, so did Daniel Kearney for short periods of time. They brought Michael Cahalane on and off again - I've no idea what was going on there.

"At the start of extra-time Seamus Harnedy barely walked out of the dressing rooms, he could hardly go out onto the field and they persisted with him for six minutes - that's criminal. That's putting you on the back foot straight away. Seamus is very honest, but there's misplaced bravery as well and the management should have been strong enough to say 'sorry Seamus, you can't walk'.

O'Sullivan said the loss was worse than last year's one against Waterford.

"There's no doubt they've let this slip and this has got away from time. Will it haunt them? For me, it'll hurt more than the Waterford one. It has to hurt you more than haunt you.

"Cork need primary ball winners. You can't keep flogging the same horses like [Seamus] Harnedy and [Conor] Lehane. Cork have to find someone to alleviate the pressure on Seamus. [Anthony] Nash wasn't going to get the freedom of Croke Park either from the Limerick statistician Sean O'Donnell and so it proved.

"Limerick had their homework done on this thing and when Anthony was forced to go a small bit longer in the second half because the space was shutdown, it played right into Limerick's hands."

He added that he thinks Limerick would love to meet Clare in the All-Ireland final.

"Limerick are a physical side, but they have the hurling to go with it. They won't fear either Clare or Galway.

"But if nothing else, wouldn't they love a shot at Clare after what happened in Cusack Park. They'd relish a chance to meet The Banner in an All-Ireland final.

He agreed that Limerick fans and the media to leave the players alone for the next three weeks.

"You see where John [Kiely] is coming from. You saw how the Limerick support turned on them after the defeat in Ennis. There was a big backlash there, and to be fair to John, he's a very level-headed guy and I've unbelievable time for him, but they need to get their heads down.

"It's all very fine to ask the media and the fans to leave the players alone, but they need to be able to separate and distance themselves from it as well."

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