Did Cork win signal another tactical shift?

Does it represent a move away from hurling’s current preoccupation with ‘playing through the lines”?
Did Cork win signal another tactical shift?

Cork manager Kieran Kingston during the win over Waterford
Picture: ©INPHO/Ken Sutton

Does Cork’s victory over Waterford represent more than a Rebels resurgence? Does it signal a move away from hurling’s current preoccupation with ‘playing through the lines”?

That’s what TJ Ryan wondered on Dalo’s Hurling Show.

“Is there a shift? We saw Tipperary last week going towards a more straightforward, simplistic gameplan.

“Is it something similar in play for Cork? It was like mark your man, win your own ball. Obviously, there were their own little intricacies in the gameplan. But it definitely seems to be shifting towards more simplistic. And in Clare v Limerick as well, puckouts were going long, it was up to lads to win their own ball. It felt that way.” 

Mark Landers suggested there had been a touch of paralysis by analysis heretofore in Cork’s play.

“I feel there was a huge amount of analysis being done in Cork. Defenders coming out with the ball, if they didn’t have a 100 per cent pass on to the forwards, they went backwards and sideways. But on Sunday it was a case of let the ball into the forwards, we have men that want it.

“They are all good hurlers., Everyone is committed, dedicated, good stick men. It just needs to come together for 70 minutes, everyone playing for the cause. And whatever has happened there was obviously some shift between this and the Clare game. The lads’ attitude was fantastic."

Anthony Daly also noted something of a return to first principles.

“Hurling has been consumed with gameplans. Because of the genius that is Paul Kinnerk people have been fascinated, but there is still an awful lot of basics in hurling. Defend well, challenge for everything. Tag rugby was more physical than what Cork were at against Clare, that just turned around. They tackled, they hunted, stuff that wasn’t going on. There is a marriage somewhere.” 

It still comes down to players more than systems, TJ suggested.

“The key thing is Cork's big players were playing well around the field, none more so than Seamie Harnedy."

Dalo’s former lieutenant, ex-Dublin captain Johnny McCaffrey, agreed.

“Harnedy was angry. Something was up with him, whether it was listening to people outside giving out. The bull was taken by the horns, ‘I’m going to do whatever it takes today to win.’ That aggression and everyone fed off that.

“Cork are a fantastic hurling team, well able to hurl and if they show the intensity levels of Sunday, they are going to be very hard to match. They were in an All-Ireland final last year. they’re not a million miles away. They have shown in the first two games how bad they can be but they showed Sunday and in bits of the league how good they can be.

“They'll be looking at Sunday and going 'right, that's the template'.”

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