Mulcahy backs JBM's call to bring in McCarthy

Jimmy Barry-Murphy's decision to recall Cian McCarthy for the All-Ireland SHC final replay against Clare has been supported by his former Cork team-mate Tomás Mulcahy.

Mulcahy backs JBM's call to bring in McCarthy

Jimmy Barry-Murphy's decision to recall Cian McCarthy for the All-Ireland SHC final replay against Clare has been supported by his former Cork team-mate Tomás Mulcahy.

Mulcahy believes that McCarthy, who has replaced Jamie Coughlan in the Rebels' attack for Saturday's match, is the sort of physical player they can rely on to improve their share of possession and cause additional problems for the Clare defence.

Mulcahy, who played for Cork between 1983 and 1994, told RTÉ: "When you look at the drawn match there is no secret or no hiding from the fact that in the half-forward line Cork struggled big time. They would have also struggled in the half-back line but Jimmy Barry-Murphy has left that intact.

"If you go back to the Munster Championship campaign in the semi-final against Clare, Cian McCarthy played centre-forward that day and played very, very well.

"He fell out of favour but for the seven minutes he was on the last day, he brought a physical presence to the half-forward line where Clare had completely dominated from puck-outs.

"They won every type of possession and breaking ball. Cork in the inside line struggled to get any decent ball inside. Patrick Horgan, one of their main players this year, only got possession of the ball twice in the second half.

"In any game, that isn't good enough and Jimmy Barry-Murphy would have looked at that and he would have said Cian McCarthy would bring that physical presence."

But Mulcahy insists that McCarthy is not all about blunt force and outmuscling Clare. The RTÉ GAA analyst talked up his hurling ability and also that of the benched Coughlan whom, he feels, could yet exert an influence on this weekend's rematch.

"Don't rule this guy (McCarthy) out, that he is just there as a battering ram. He is a very good hurler and a good striker of the ball as well. I think he is a welcome addition," added Mulcahy.

"Jamie Coughlan loses out unfortunately but in that match against Clare in the summer he did replace Cian in the second half and he shot the lights out from every angle in the field that day. His opportunity will come, I'm sure, in the second half of the game to make an impact."

There was much talk in the lead up to the drawn game that Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald would persist with deploying captain Patrick Donnellan as a sweeper in defence.

As it turned out, Donnellan was kept in an orthodox line-up for the September 8 encounter and Mulcahy thinks the Banner men are unlikely to go back into 'defensive mode' for the replay as they need to carry more of a goal-scoring threat - Cork outscored them by three goals to none the last day, and Clare also failed to find the net in the sides' Munster semi-final clash.

"Clare got 25 scores (points) in the drawn game, probably the one negative they did achieve was not putting one or two balls in the back of the net," explained Cork's 1990 All-Ireland winning captain.

"They had a goal opportunity in the first half and the second half and they didn't take them. If Clare had got either, they could have run out convincing winners.

"He could look at it and say, 'yeah I'll go back into defensive mode because I don't want to concede goals', or he can say we need to push on and support Darach Honan a bit more in the full-forward line.

"I think Honan was left isolated one-on-one with Shane O'Neill, and O'Neill won that battle. You will not score goals by bringing guys back into the defence.

"If Clare are going to win this match and take this game to Cork, they are going to have to push on and push people closer to goal. Forcing one or two goals could be the deciding factor on Saturday."

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