Brian Hurley brings increased workrate as forward role changing

Cork’s Brian Hurley says in the modern game a forward must offer his team more than just the odd score. 

Brian Hurley brings increased workrate as forward role changing

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s NFL final against Dublin, Hurley said that forwards must move around or risk being bottled up by opponents.

“The whole country’s talking about how the scorelines have gone, and it’s become a much more low-scoring game. If a team can get a goal now it’s usually a game-changing event.

“If a goal comes up we’ll take it, without a doubt, like in the Mayo game. Blanket defences shut you down so if you get a sniff (of a goal) you’ve to go for it. A few years ago you’d see forwards getting 2-3, 2-4 in a game, whereas nowadays they’re getting three or four points in a match.

“I’m not complaining, though, I’m happy to be on the field.

“If you’re not scoring you have to bring something else to the game, and I try to do my work, to get turnovers or contribute in some other way to benefit the team - blocking or whatever.

“You’ve to vary your game, too. If you just stand around inside the 21 metre line you’ll be well marked. To be honest, I’m not playing midfield either!”

The Castlehaven clubman acknowledged that it’s a change from his underage days, when getting on the scoreboard was the priority.

“Without a doubt, when I was starting off it was all about getting scores, that was how I got on teams. But the game changes and you have to adapt. In training you try to do those other things.”

There’s a new voice at training for Cork this year. Hurley praised fitness coach Pat Flanagan: “Pat is well known and we’re glad to have him, over the last two or three years we’ve had good fitness trainers. Training’s been going well and you’re seeing the results on the field.

“He’s straight up, Pat’ll let you know what he wants, but he’s a genuine guy too. There’s a lot of respect for him in terms of what he did with Kerry in the past.”

Last year’s championship was a challenge for Hurley as opposition defences worked hard to close him down.

“I knew I’d be watched after the previous year, against Tipperary I was probably double-teamed and so forth.

“But we have class players, the likes of Mark (Collins), Colm (O’Neill) and the other lads will pop up to get the scores. It wouldn’t really bother me if I didn’t get a score in a game, there are other ways you can contribute.

“And if I had a bad game, I might be down on myself for a day or two but I get back into it. That’s what it’s about, getting your confidence back up.

“I’d rather play badly and win than the reverse, I wouldn’t be selfish like that.

“The way the game has gone, or this league anyway, I’ve only been getting one or two points here and there but we’ve been winning the games, which is the most important thing.”

This weekend Dublin will be a formidable challenge on their home patch, Croke Park.

“We won early in the league against them, but we’d expect them to have their big guns back for next Sunday. We had a lot of injuries at the start of the year, the likes of Cads (Eoin Cadogan), (Michael) Shieldsy, Pa Kelly, Donncha (O’Connor), they’re all back now.

“But Dublin are league champions, obviously they’ll go in as favourites but it’s all to play for. Hopefully it’ll be a great game.

”I know people call Croke Park the big house, I love playing there myself. It’s a savage place to be, the pitch is perfect, even on a rainy day the ball doesn’t go anywhere. It’s certainly the best pitch in Ireland.”

Hurley isn’t forgetting the important stuff later in the season either: “I know it’s easy to say it’s only the league but it is. We’re going well and we’re in the final, but it was much the same last year until we went downhill. We’ll be looking to get going hard early in the championship this year.”

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Discover the

Install our free app today

Available on


Have the Irish Examiner delivered to your door. No delivery charge. Just pay the cover price.