Tomas Clancy: 'Club players will suffer massively, especially in Cork'

Cork footballer Tomas Clancy says the ‘Super 8’ championship format, passed by the GAA’s annual Congress last weekend, is going to be particularly difficult in a strong dual county like Cork, writes Michael Moynihan.

“Club players are going to suffer massively, especially in a dual county like Cork. It’s going to be difficult to manage, though we’ve no choice in the matter now. We just have to get on with it,” said Clancy.

“It’s going to be more like the league, playing games every week, which for a county player is a good thing. The league is one of the more enjoyable times in a season because you’re playing games every week. It’s the gap that kills you.”

Clancy was speaking after Cork’s league win last Sunday over Fermanagh — their first victory of the campaign.

“We definitely needed the win. We performed well against Galway though there was a bit of rustiness in front of goal because we shot a lot of wides. Our percentages were way down.

“Against Kildare, we simply weren’t good enough. We didn’t show up on the day.

“It was easy to get up for this game against Fermanagh given the bad performance last week and that it was our first home game of the league.

“I think the real challenge is going to be against Clare on Sunday. The main focus at the weekend was getting two points.”

The Fermoy club man said playing in Páirc Uí Rinn helped Cork, as did the homework they’d done on Fermanagh.

“It does make a difference (playing at home). In fairness, the pitch was in great condition considering what went on over the winter.

“We knew what way they were going to set-up. I think the wind actually helped us because it made our decisions easier.

“We weren’t going to kick against that wind, especially with Fermanagh pulling so many players back.

“We’ve a lot of athleticism in our squad. We’ve very strong runners like Aidan Walsh, who was phenomenal going past players. We try to play to our strengths, getting that right and using it in the right way.

“Playing the ball wide was key because you’re not going to get past them in first phase. It will take the second and even third, so you’ve got to be patient, and that’s something we’re not used down here in club football. Not many teams go defensive.

“At inter-county level having that patience is crucial. We’ve some very good players, like Luke Connolly for example who are capable of splitting open defences. I for one wouldn’t be capable of doing that. I just do what I’m good at. If everyone looks after their game we will come together as a team.”

The depth — and health — of the panel is a help to Cork, reckons Clancy. “At the moment we’ve about 32 players back training with us. Injuries are way down, so management are going to try and bring everyone on in games. The main thing is we need competition to drive us on.”

This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.

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