Diarmuid O’Sullivan believes the work-rate of the Cork attack has to improve significantly if they are to bounce back from Sunday’s defeat to Tipperary. The three-time All-Ireland winning full-back also feels too much responsibility rests on the shoulders of Patrick Horgan.
While rating Shane Kingston as having performed reasonably well, O’Sullivan felt captain Seamus Harnedy’s 1-3 haul was deceptive as “he went missing for a lot of the game” and Alan Cadogan is badly needed for Sunday’s trip to Limerick.
“It was interesting after the game when John Meyler come out and questioned if the Cork forwards outside of Hoggie were working hard enough?” said the Paddy Power GAA columnist.
“Was that the right platform to single them out? It was an interesting take on it, but it is probably something that was better kept inside the dressing room to have it out.
“Aidan Walsh came on in the 59th minute, Declan Dalton after that and then Jack O’Connor with a minute to go. O’Connor’s appearance was only a token gesture at that stage. If you believe O’Connor is good enough to be on the panel then why are you waiting until the 69th minute?
“Walsh tried hard in his 10 minutes on the field and the goal came from good, honest work from him, but having him there changed Cork’s structure.
It didn’t matter how the ball went into him, the quality went out of the distribution.
“The two things Cork need going forward are Bill Cooper and Alan Cadogan. Alan has obviously picked up an injury again, but they need him back quickly for his running and scoring ability if they are to get back into this Munster Championship campaign.
“Cork are far too reliant on Patrick Horgan. Unless other guys start taking the responsibility and sharing the load with Hoggie, Cork are going nowhere. Hoggie nearly always turns up, but what about the day he doesn’t? Cork should be really worried about that day.”
O’Sullivan was also critical of Cork’s half-back line: “To call a spade a spade, they were utterly run ragged! Bubbles (John O’Dwyer) was named at corner-forward for Tipp, but operated at centre-forward for large parts of the match and did untold damage. You have to set your platform from your half-back line and Cork didn’t do it. It is one of the key areas where the game was won and lost.”
Cooper’s protection was sorely missed on Páirc Uí Chaoimh and will be again in LIT Gaelic Grounds if he hasn’t recovered from his back spasm, O’Sullivan feels.
Cooper identifies where the problem is and plugs the gap. I’m not sure what Mark Ellis’ story is in relation to the squad, but Mark was always good at recognising that issue as well.
“Bill Cooper wasn’t there to bail them out. That being said, Luke Meade came into midfield and was probably Cork’s best player outside of Hoggie. But, Luke isn’t defensive minded and neither is Darragh Fitzgibbon.”
O’Sullivan is hoping Cork get a better rub of the green from referee Paud O’Dwyer this Sunday than Seán Cleere four days ago: “There was a lot of cynicism from the Tipperary backs let go in the second half. Seán Cleere seems to
ignore the clear pulls and trips on the Cork forwards. It’s like someone had a word in his ear at half-time because he reffed the second half completely differently from the first.
“There’s no doubt that the leeway he gave Tipp to be cynical helped them to victory. He won’t be on Cork’s Christmas card list.”
Yet O’Sullivan doesn’t discount Cork’s chances of upsetting the All-Ireland champions: “Is it beyond them? The funny thing is, it’s not and they could go to the Gaelic Grounds and get a victory. If we can even get a point that would be great. If we can get into third place that will be fine.”
More of O’Sullivan’s views can be read on news.paddypower.com