Donal O’Grady: Cork hurlers don’t know how to defend

In a hard-hitting column in tomorrow’s Irish Examiner, former Cork hurling manager Donal O’Grady says the current side don’t know their defensive jobs.
Donal O’Grady: Cork hurlers don’t know how to defend

Pointless Cork conceded 4-21 to Dublin in Croke Park on Saturday night and O’Grady wasn’t at all impressed with the team’s defensive approach.

“Seeing Cork in their first three games, but particularly against Dublin, I got the feeling that most of the Cork players don't understand their defensive role,” writes O’Grady.

“The Cork forwards don't make a co-ordinated effort to defend when possession is with the other team, a la Waterford or Kilkenny. They remain upfield, more like 'traditional' half forward/full forward lines of previous times.

In the column, O’Grady explores the defensive systems used by teams such as Kilkenny and Waterford and suggests Cork have failed to adapt the reality of how the game is now played.

“The game has moved on: nowadays these lines must drop back and work in unison when possession is lost to make things a little easier on their defence.

“Tracking runners is another fundamental, while leaving the least dangerous attacker and covering back in front of goal is another basic requirement. At this level defenders must work out quickly when their goal is threatened.

“All these were absent last Saturday evening in Croke Park. Dublin scored four goals but each could have been prevented by the respective players 'doing their job'.

“The problem for the Cork panel is that they don't know how to defend properly. Cork defend as individuals but in intercounty hurling, particularly Division 1A, a defence must be moulded as a coordinated unit.”

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