Hennessy says Cork badly need battlers

Kevin Hennessy can’t see Cork winning the All-Ireland title this year due to the seismic impact of last year’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Tipperary.

Hennessy says Cork badly need battlers

The Midleton man believes the 10-point loss was a massive blow to the hurlers and “set us back a long way”.

Ahead of their official pre-season campaign against UL in this afternoon’s Waterford Crystal Cup preliminary round game in CIT (2pm throw-in), the three-time All-Ireland winner wants to see more intensity in Cork’s play after the heavy disappointment of that August day in Croke Park.

“When they lose the ball they must fight for it. What surprised me last year against Tipperary was the man was winning the ball, losing it then not fighting to win it back. You’ve to bite the bullet and get the ball back.

“Hurling has always been about having 15 backs and six forwards. Everyone has to defend. Once we get that going we will compete because Cork have always had the hurlers to beat any team but that’s when they put their mind to it. If you do that, you have the unity and foundation to build from.

“If we got another trouncing like we did against Tipperary, which nobody saw coming, it would make everybody depressed.

“I can’t see Cork winning an All-Ireland but if they reach the standards they set for themselves they will put it up to teams.”

Hennessy is though buoyed by the appointment of Anthony Nash as Cork’s new captain, succeeding Pa Cronin.

In a statement before Thursday’s Canon O’Brien Cup game, it was confirmed Jimmy Barry Murphy “with regret acceded to Patrick’s request to step back from the captaincy and to concentrate instead on his playing career”.

Hennessy believes the Kanturk goalkeeper demonstrated his grace under pressure during the penalty controversy early last year. “He’s the ideal man for it because he’s a good leader first and foremost. I was involved with him at U21 level as a selector and you could see it then.

“I’m sorry for Pa Cronin not to stick with it but he felt it was inhibiting him and if something like that is bothering him you wouldn’t like him to be there. The captaincy won’t affect Nash especially if you think about all the aggravation he had to put up with last year about the penalties. He took more than enough stick but it was like water off a duck’s back.”

Nash was unable to stop Jamie Barron’s penalty under the new one-on-one trial rules against UCC in the Mardyke on Thursday evening. Hennessy isn’t in agreement with the Hurling 2020 committee’s proposal.

“It’s being trialled but I can’t see it coming in. I think it’s health and safety gone mad. One of the best penalty takers I ever saw was John Fenton and he always went in past the (20 metre) line and there was no problem with health and safety. Anthony Nash has perfected it now.”

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