Cork's scoring reliance on Patrick Horgan becoming less of an issue

Following their victory over Clare in the league last Saturday week, people queried Cork’s reliance on Patrick Horgan for scores.

Cork's scoring reliance on Patrick Horgan becoming less of an issue

Following their victory over Clare in the league last Saturday week, people queried Cork’s reliance on Patrick Horgan for scores.

To a lot of people, he Rebels over-rely on the Glen Rovers man to bail Cork out time and time again.

Sometimes, that is true. The Leesiders have been too reliant on the northsider to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Yet, in Gaelic Grounds last Sunday, John Meyler’s outfit had no less than nine different names on the scoresheet.

Aside, from Horgan, Cork got scores from most sectors of the field and, encouragingly, five of the six starting forwards had registered by half-time.

Maybe it was a case that the players became aware of what the public had been saying about Horgan racking up the points against the Banner and felt they had to push themselves that bit more in Limerick.

Regardless, Cork came up with the goods against the All-Ireland champions and pegged 2-21, fair clipping for a game in February.

Of course, nobody will read too much into the fact Meyler’s side got one over on John Kiely’s charges at this time of the year.

Yet, it will do their confidence no harm at all as they seek to build on Meyler’s first year in charge, and on all the superb work put in by Kieran Kingston and co before the present management was put in place.

And what will encourage Meyler further still is the fact their UCC contingent will be reintegrated from here on which will add more players operating at the sharp end of the form spectrum, particularly in attack.

Cork have an outstanding chance of All-Ireland success this year because the profile of their panel fits the bill of what is required to be there next August when the Liam MacCarthy Cup is handed out.

The age profile is just right and the level of experience within the group is also in a good place. Additionally, the dynamism of the squad is there for all to see on the pitch and with a few near-misses in recent All-Ireland semi-finals to motivate them even more, this could be their year.

In contrast, I agree entirely with Jackie Tyrrell’s assertion that Limerick cannot win the All-Ireland this term, a point he reiterated last Sunday night.

Speaking on RTÉ Allianz League Sunday:

I still feel that Limerick won’t win the All-Ireland. Limerick are All-Ireland champions at the moment and deservedly so and they’re huge ambassadors for the sport.

"The reason why I don’t think they’ll win the All-Ireland is the effort it took – it took them 45 years to win it. To win a second one back-to-back takes an incredible effort and they’re going to have to learn that there’s a target on their back and every time they play they are going to be forensically analysed.

"And if you look at their squad, they are going to need two to three players – Aaron Gillane has played eight games in five weeks, which is a game every four days. Eoin Larkin in 2008 played four games in the whole year.

"For Limerick to be progressive they need lads coming in, putting on pressure, keeping standards up.”

"If you look back the last two years, Tipperary and Galway were flying it, beating teams at will. Limerick are in line with that and what happened? They didn’t unearth talent."

You might recall that Limerick were put forward here as potential All-Ireland winners last year.

However, I can’t have them on my mind for the title this year.

And the reason for that is extremely simple: The only county capable of retaining the All-Ireland title in the modern era is Kilkenny.

No other county seems to be able to manage to achieve that goal, and now that the levels of competitiveness have been raised higher still, it will be so, so difficult for Limerick to go as far down the well is as required to keep hold of the silverware.

The reality is that even though they fitted the bill of a potential champion last year, they are still one of those counties that once one All-Ireland is won, that they struggle to kick-on the following year.

Tradition, an element that is arguably more important in the GAA world than any other when assessing where a team goes next, decrees that Limerick will not retain the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

Now, in 2020 they would definitely be back on the shortlists.

However, for this season, I expect Tyrrell’s theory to be proved correct.

That, of course, is not to say Kiely will give a hoot that they lost last Sunday, or that people are unconvinced they can be All-Ireland champions again this season.

Kiely, speaking in relation to Limerick’s subdued start against Limerick, said: "You never really do know with these things but at least the response was there. Sure there had to be a response.

"We knew ourselves we weren't at the level we would be accustomed to having. Listen we march on. We have to take our medicine."

The Limerick supremo added: "We always knew that we weren't going to win every single game. You can't, it's just not possible. We went nine down, Cork were playing really well. We struggled at times. We dragged it (the lead) back, but then we left it go back out again."

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