Rebels can raise their game to outgun Down

DOWN are the form team heading into Sunday’s final but I have a feeling that if Cork can up their performance by five or ten percent, they should have enough to win.

I think there’s a good game yet in Cork, a consistent 70 minutes, but if they don’t produce it then they won’t win the match.

You’ll see skin and hair flying out around the middle of the field. Cork’s size gives them an advantage but Down make up for that with sheer tenacity. It will be a very interesting battle there.

Individually, the Cork forwards are well able to score but you don’t see the chemistry between them that Down’s attack possesses.

Cork’s forwards are so young and there’s no huge leader up there. Donncha O’Connor has been in and out of the team and Pearse O’Neill had a disappointing final last year. You’re asking younger guys to step up to mark and while Paddy Kelly has managed it, the likes of Colm O’Neill and Ciarán Sheehan are still young men.

I suspect Cork are lacking a real leader in the forwards, a focal point, but maybe they’ll get over that hump and you’ll see them taking responsibility.

It will be strange watching an All-Ireland final without Kerry involved but that’s the way it is. Cork have been a common factor at the business end of the championship for the last few years but it’s unusual to see Down in it.

It will make for a good spectacle and if Cork can lift their performance levels up a couple of notches from the semi-final against Dublin, I fancy them to get over the line.


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