Not the case, however, for Cork manager Jimmy Barry Murphy.
“Unless the referee comes to us before the games, we don’t go looking for him, we’ll take what comes on the day.”
Not that they ignore what any particular arbiter may do in any particular game. “We just look at the referees that are reffing the games and see what tendencies they have and different things like that.
“I suppose referees have their own style, things they tend to favour. We look at that — every team is doing that now to see what suits them.”
Cork suffered at the hands of the referee in the Munster final loss to Limerick, Westmeath’s James McGrath red-carding free-taker Patrick Horgan just before half-time. Cork’s next game however, the All-Ireland quarter-final win over Kilkenny, saw almost a mirror-image of that situation, the Cats’ Henry Shefflin sent off by Barry Kelly for a second yellow card offence, again just before the break. Both those red cards were subsequently rescinded on appeal, Shefflin’s first yellow deemed harsh.
So, it’s understandable that a team management would have their homework done on the individual who can ultimately have a greater influence on the outcome than any of their own players.
On the injury front, good news for Cork supporters with experienced defender Brian Murphy having made a remarkable recovery from a broken collar-bone and now pushing to regain his starting spot.
“Everything is fine, everything has cleared up for us,” said Jimmy.
“Brian Murphy played for his club last weekend so it is great news for us. He could have played in Croke Park (in the semi-final win over Dublin) if we actually needed him but we didn’t need him. He has had a couple of extra weeks training and a match so he is training fairly well.”
In Cork’s Munster semi-final win against Clare, and though manning the unfamiliar centre-back position, Murphy did a man-marking job on dangerman Tony Kelly, and played a pivotal role in Cork’s win.
Since then however Kelly has been shifted to midfield for Clare, scoring four points from that position in their semi-final win against Limerick, while the Cork defence has also gone from strength to strength with youngster Christopher Joyce doing very well at centre-back.
“The players have all done very well with Brian out. We have shown that we have strength in depth in the panel, Stephen White did a great job when coming in the last day.”
On striker Paudie O’Sullivan, however, out since before the start of the championship with a horrific leg-break (pins now reinforcing his broken tibia and fibula) the news is less encouraging.
“He is still clinging to the hope that he will be in contention. It’s a long shot but in fairness he’s making every effort to try and get there. He’s not back training but he’s doing a massive amount of work with our physio Declan O’Sullivan — we will never say never.”