Déise trip a true test, says JBM

Cork hurling manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy feels that Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League Division 1A trip to Waterford will tell more about his side than their opening-night victory over Tipperary.

A win against the Déise would leave Cork in a very strong position to qualify for the league knockout stages. The Rebels began their campaign with a 0-26 to 1-11 win over Tipperary last Saturday week, but Barry-Murphy is keen to ensure that nobody gets carried away with the victory.

“Tipp weren’t up to their usual standard, let’s be honest,” he said. “We’re not being codded whatsoever by that, but we were very pleased all the same. It’s a tough campaign, with just two home games, so a good start was vital, especially with some new lads on the panel.

“The three away games are very, very difficult, so it’s still going to be hard, but the players showed great appetite. We’ll learn more now going forward, you often learn more about players away from home so I’m looking forward to how they respond to those.”

Ten Cork players saw game-time as UCC retained the Fitzgibbon Cup with a win over Mary Immaculate College last Saturday. Being able to call on younger players with such experience offsets some of Cork’s lack of success at underage level, in Barry-Murphy’s view.

“All the players in the Fitzgibbon, including CIT and Luke O’Farrell with Mary I, were excellent,” he said.

“UCC were top class at the weekend and it was very encouraging from that point of view. We’ve been quite impressed with the number of talented young players coming through, even if they haven’t won very much at underage level.

“Darren Sweetnam last year, obviously, and Conor Lehane has been excellent, and Seamus Harnedy looks promising so far. We also brought back a few players who had been out of the panel, like Michael Cussen, Adrian Mannix, Peter O’Brien and Stephen White, Daniel Kearney is another player, and there are others.”

Having so many options means more rotation, and while he is keen to ensure a balance between that and results, the manager wants to give chances to fringe players, tying in with a change of focus compared to 2012.

“We didn’t use the league enough to try out players last year, so now our policy is to try new players to give them an opportunity at this level,” he said. “Without going into too much detail about it, we’re gearing more towards the summer, our thoughts are certainly on the Munster semi-final, that would be our D-day really.

“I’d like another day out, it breaks the gap to championship and it would be good to see how the lads do in an extra match or two in a competitive environment.”

Barry-Murphy was speaking in Páirc Uí Chaoimh at the announcement of Cork’s new sponsorship deal with Chill Insurance, which coincided with the launch of a new shirt.

Chill’s logo will be carried on the front of county jerseys from minor level upwards. County chairman Bob Ryan was pleased that a replacement for O2 had been found.

“We don’t publicise any confidential details of the negotiations but Chill will be our sponsors for the next three years,” he said.

“We’re a very strong brand and that is seen here in us bagging a major sponsor. We had been speaking to a number of companies, and what we had to do was weigh up the best deal.

“Certain decisions had to be made, and time had to be taken doing that; at no stage did we panic. To that end, I must thank our chief negotiator, Frank Murphy, the secretary of the board.”

Asked whether the board had considered offering the naming rights of a redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh with the sponsorship, he said: “The naming rights of the stadium will be a totally separate issue in the future.”

Ryan also said the process of hiring a new board administrator to take on much of the secretary’s duties is underway, with an appointment hoped for in the next four to six weeks.

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