Players need training break, insists Counihan

CORK senior football manager Conor Counihan insists he has no problem with the ban on collective winter training for intercounty teams.

Opposition to the blanket shutdown in November and December has been expressed in various quarters but Counihan believes top stars need a break after a gruelling year.

From January 1, teams are free to begin collective training ahead of the 2010 season but because of a team holiday, Counihan will not see his players again until the third week of that month.

But the former All-Ireland senior medallist is not unduly worried by that scenario as he his players will follow specially designed fitness regimes over the next two months.

Counihan said: “Fellas need a break at this stage so we’re happy enough to do that. You certainly need to step down a bit but in this day and age fellas are going to keep themselves in reasonable shape anyway.

“They’re big enough to know that you can’t come back in January carrying a couple of pounds. The handicapper won’t allow it!”

Counihan took his charges to Thurles on Saturday night for a challenge game against Tipperary, a fixture which served as part of the Grangemockler club’s commemoration of Bloody Sunday victim and former Tipp footballer Michael Hogan. Cork emerged with a two-point victory at Semple Stadium in front of less than 200 spectators. Counihan reflected: “We were trying out a lot of new lads. It’s always nice to come to Thurles; great pitch, great facilities and it’s a nice way to finish the year off. It’s important to get new fellas in and look at them.”

Getting out on the pitch again will have helped the healing process for Counihan and his players following September’s All-Ireland defeat against Kerry.

He added: “You just move on, it’s there, it’s a bit like a game. If you make a mistake early, do you spend the rest of the game thinking about that mistake or do you move on?

“You have to move on.”

An early penalty converted by John Hayes proved decisive in Saturday evening’s floodlit success for Cork. Hayes struck after nine minutes and while the sides were level at 1-2 to 0-5 at the break, the Rebels outscored the hosts in the second half to win by two points.

Scorers for Cork: J Hayes 1-1 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), F Goold 0-2 (1f), C Sheehan, S McCarthy, J Fitzpatrick & D Goold 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tipperary: K Mulryan 0-3, P Austin 0-2, T Dalton 0-2f, S Egan 0-1.

CORK: K O’Halloran; N Galvin, J O’Sullivan, E Cotter; Conor O’Driscoll, R O’Sullivan, B Crowley; F Goold, P O’Flynn; S McCarthy, J Hayes, Colm O’Driscoll; D Kearney, J Fitzpatrick, D Goold.

Subs: S Kiely for McCarthy, C Sheehan for O’Sullivan, E Hegarty for Galvin.

TIPPERARY: P Fitzgerald; C Morrissey, P Codd, N Curran; C McGrath, R Costigan, B Fox; H Coghlan, A Moloney; G Hannigan, P Austin, J Cagney; T Dalton, K Mulryan, S Egan.

Subs: D Bourke for Egan, M O’Donnell for Fitzgerald, A Morrissey for C Morrissey, D Buckley for Moloney, C Morrissey for Codd, E O’Brien for Dalton, D Hickey for Costigan, A Moloney for Coghlan, S Egan for Hannigan, E Kennedy for Cagney.

Referee: Brian Tyrrell (Tipperary).

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