The two-time All-Ireland winner said the manager’s decision to replace a third of the team that beat Tipperary in the semi-final has taken supporters by surprise but he can see a lot of logic in the decisions.
“We’re not privy to what’s going on behind closed doors. Eamonn was on radio during the week and it was said to him that he was ruthless but he said he’d call himself consistent. You’d have to take your hat off to him because he’s been going on form from day one.
“He maybe had an inkling about this Cork team and how they have gone back to a running game and that maybe went against Colm a little bit. Gooch can play his own game when it comes to it but Donnchadh (Walsh), (Johnny) Buckley and (Steven) O’Brien are comfortable going up and down the field. When the game opens up, he’ll spring Colm.”
O’Sullivan is more surprised by Maher’s demotion to the bench.
“Considering Cork should be going for a running game, dropping Maher is the one that stood out for me. You have to play (Bryan) Sheehan because he’s in form both in general play and placed balls. It was his scores that settled them against Kerry. So it must have come down to who was playing better between Maher and (David) Moran.”
Of the changes in general, O’Sullivan said: “There had been rumbling earlier in the week. It’s shocked a lot. People might have believed two or three of the changes but not five.”
B Kelly (Legion), C Cooper (Dr Crokes), A Maher (Duagh), P Geaney (Dingle), M Griffin (St Michaels/Foilmore), M Geaney (Dingle), A O’Mahony (Rathmore), D O’Sullivan (Glenbeigh-Glencar). T Walsh (Kerins O’Rahillys). J Sherwood (Firies), P Murphy (Rathmore).
P O’Shea (St Vincent’s), J O’Sullivan (Bishopstown), N Galvin (Ballincollig), C Dorman (Bishopstown), T Clancy (Fermoy), R Deane (Bantry Blues), P Kelly (Ballincollig), J Hayes (Carbery Rangers), C O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh), D Goulding (Éire Óg), D Hodnett (O’Donovan Rossa).