4 steps which Brian Cuthbert and Jimmy Barry-Murphy travelled in system changes

They mightn’t know it but Brian Cuthbert and Jimmy Barry-Murphy are following similar journeys, following paths they hardly envisaged when they became managers of Cork’s football and hurling teams but ones borne of necessity more so than design.

Adopting the Kübler-Ross model of grief, here’s just how the pair have reconciled with the death of their preferred philosophies to embrace more defensive tactics reflective of what’s en vogue:

DENIAL

Cuthbert after beating Dublin, March 2014:

“I always go back to the boy in the back garden. What does he do? He picks up a ball and wants to kick it! I’d have looked at football over the last few years and felt that if we can develop a team that can kick the ball accurately and quickly and into the right space, and have players who can see that space and get in after it... Dublin were a template for that last year.”

Barry-Murphy after losing All-Ireland final replay to Clare, September 2013:

“You’re preparing for a sweeper and it doesn’t happen, so the next day you’re wondering what he’s going to come up with again. We’re a good side too and we felt during the week that we’d trained so well that, if we were beaten, it was going to have to be by very good side and they were on the day.”

ANGER

Cuthbert after narrow win over Tipperary in Munster semi-final, June 2014:

“I think if someone plays us now there’s a template there for how to play us.”

Barry-Murphy on heavy All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Tipperary, August 2014:

“As Cork manager, it was embarrassing. We brought 35-40,000 people to Dublin and we let everyone down. We let ourselves down. I don’t really blame the players at all. It was up to us (management) to get them right and we didn’t do that.”

BARGAINING

Cuthbert again after narrow win over Tipperary in Munster semi-final, June 2014:

“Would we change anything with how we planned for it? No, I felt we did everything we should have done coming into the game. Sometimes championship does that to players mentally, it’s easy to revert to type and we’ve a lot of straight talking to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Barry-Murphy, February 2015:

“I am not big into tactics myself... I am not a fool about them either, by the way... I do believe that hurling games can take on a life of their own; that spontaneity remains a huge part of the game. I do think some people feel I am not into the tactical side of things enough. That is a matter of opinion. It doesn’t bother me.”

DEPRESSION

Cuthbert after Munster semi-final defeat to Kerry, July 2014:

“Everything is on the table for review. We’ll just have to go back and look at everything and see where we go from here. But we’re hugely disappointed that we’ve left a huge amount of people down, especially ourselves. At times there today it must have been very difficult for the Cork supporters because that wasn’t our intention going out there.”

Barry-Murphy after Munster semi-final defeat to Waterford, June 2015:

“They (Waterford) are a very good team at what they do. We have seen it now over a good number of Sundays. It takes a good lot out of our players. We just wanted to get fresh legs in and I thought the subs that came in did quite well. You have to assess it and see where we are going from here.”

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