Johnny Crowley: Cork hurlers adapting to change

Cork can’t simply expect that the system used against Clare a fortnight ago will guarantee victory against Galway in Sunday’s All-Ireland SHC quarter-final, according to selector Johnny Crowley.

Johnny Crowley: Cork hurlers adapting to change

Against Clare, Brian Lawton, who was selected at wing-forward, dropped to the half-back line to mark Tony Kelly, allowing centre-back Mark Ellis to operate as a sweeper. While Crowley acknowledges that the system suited Cork, a change can’t be ruled out.

“You can’t look too far ahead,” he says, “and you’d be naive to think that what worked against Clare will automatically work against Galway

“Will we use it again? There’s a lot to be think about and we’ll look at every option.

“The system we used against Clare did help us, Brian Lawton came in and did a good job marking Tony Kelly, by and large the system suited the players.

“It’s important though that you’re able to adapt because there’s always the chance that the opposition will throw something at you from out of the blue.”

Sunday’s game will be Cork’s third in the space of four weekends, with wins against Wexford and Clare helping Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s side to overcome the disappointment of the league final and Munster quarter-final losses to Waterford.

“We’re confident in our own ability,” Crowley says. “After the league final and then the championship game against Waterford, confidence was probably at a low ebb but thankfully things have improved since.

“We’re played well in two games and you’re generally always quietly confident going into any game, you think and you hope that you’ve enough done.

“Going down to Wexford and getting a win was never going to be easy but thankfully we managed to do that, even though we had a blip in the second half.

“That increased the confidence a bit and it helped us going in against Clare, everybody raised their game, as a management we were very happy with the intensity shown.

“To get a win in such a way, the confidence rises even more but Galway are feeling confident too, judging by the way Anthony Cunningham said that they’re hoping to meet Kilkenny again.

“They’re coming in off a Leinster final against Kilkenny where they played well and there was a period where they’ll have felt that they could have snatched it. Their touch was very good and they’ll have had three weeks to get ready for this.

“That might help us though, when you know that you have to play well it can act as a spur to the players and that’s what we hope will happen. We’re injury-free and we’ll give it the full whack.”

Cork are boosted by the availability of Lorcán McLoughlin, who has recovered from a shoulder injury. When he sustained the injury in May, it had been feared that he would miss the rest of the season and Crowley describes the Kanturk man’s return as a boost.

“Lorcán is available again, which is fantastic news for him and us,” he says, “he has done incredibly well to come back from that type of injury.

“He has been running all along and has been back in contact for the last two weeks. He has played in two challenge matches and has put himself right back into contention. We’re all very happy for him.”

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