Cork’s 1999 All-Ireland SHC winning captain Mark Landers is fearful they won’t fix their puck-out strategy in time for their Munster semi-final against Limerick on July 3.
Having seen Limerick expose their restarts last Saturday week and no considerable improvement in the defeat to Galway last Sunday, ex-selector Landers is not convinced goalkeeper Patrick Collins and his team-mates can rectify that in the time before the game in Semple Stadium.
“From being blinding in the first couple of games, we’ve now gone into our shell again or maybe the opposition have copped on to what Cork are doing,” he told thehurling podcast.
“They’re playing a short, slow puck-out, playing from the full-back line to the half-back line and unless the shot is on into the forward line they’re not giving it.”
He continued: “I’d say there is a lot of concern, particularly with the puck-out. Whether three weeks is enough to get that right is debatable.”
Disappointed with how Cork’s league campaign petered out in the last two games, Landers described Sunday’s loss to Galway as “a slow death”.
He expects Jack O’Connor and Ger Millerick to be in contention for starting places against Limerick but suggests Kieran Kingston doesn’t yet know the best positions for his players.
Former Tipperary captain Shane McGrath believes doubt surrounds the identity of Cork’s full-back and Landers concurs. “I just don’t know who your number three is and I feel it’s a big thing for ye. Would Robert Downey be a shout to put in?”
Speaking about Downey, Landers says: “He played the first three league games last year at full-back and he played extremely well. Eoin Cadogan came in for a game and Downey was moved to wing-back and stayed in that position because Eoin Cadogan had played well at full-back.
“Damien Cahalane has played a few good games at full-back this year, Eoin Cadogan has come back in. I know what the players are going to be but I don’t know where (they will play). They do need to settle on a full-back and let him there really. I thought Robert Downey was the future because he’s only 22 years of age.”
TJ Ryan says it’s difficult to judge Cork going into the Championship. “I don’t know where I am with Cork right now. I definitely think there is a touch of Lanigan’s Ball about their defence. The positives are they scored 18 goals.”