Seán Powter: We feel like we can put it up to the best

Seán Powter believes this weekend’s break couldn’t come at a better time for a Cork team whose defence features a host of college players
Seán Powter: We feel like we can put it up to the best

TALKING SHOP: Cork's Sean Powter being interviewed by the Irish Examiner's John Fogarty after the victory in Newbridge. Pic: Piaras Ó Mídheach, Sportsfile

Seán Powter believes this weekend’s break couldn’t come at a better time for a Cork team whose defence features a host of college players.

While MTU Cork men Seán Meehan, Rory Maguire and Tommy Walsh’s Sigerson Cup interests have concluded, Maurice Shanley, Daniel O’Mahony and Shane Merrit face into a semi-final for UCC against Trinity College in Carlow on Wednesday evening. Four of them started in Sunday’s win over Kildare while Meehan was introduced as a substitute.

“I think they have played six games in the last three weeks,” said Powter. “They’re holding up thankfully, but I’d say if it keeps going there will be a few injuries so it’s nice to give them a break. Six of our backs played Sigerson during the week and thankfully they got through it.”

Having endured chronic hamstring issues, 25-year-old Powter is no stranger to injuries. Although he required treatment on Sunday after scoring Cork’s first goal and retired before the end of the game as a temporary substitute and didn’t see out the end of the game, he is having his best run of fitness as a senior footballer.

“Getting a few bumps and bangs but thankfully John (Cleary) is very understanding if I’m feeling tight or can feel there’s a niggle coming on. I can step out and John has no problem with that, and I need to be managed that way but thankfully I’m getting a few league games and that will continue into championship.” 

To keep a clean sheet in Newbridge on Sunday was satisfying for a group that felt the concession of three goals against Meath didn’t reflect the amount of defensive work they have put in since November.

“We only gave away two or three goal chances in the McGrath Cup and against Meath it was six in total,” Powter highlighted. “One of the focuses against Kildare was no goals and thankfully Newbridge is a kind of a tight area. It was rewarding that we didn’t concede any.

“It’s difficult in the McGrath Cup because you don’t know what work the other teams have done but Kildare are there or thereabouts as a Division 1 team and we knew if we could put it up to them, we can put it up to the best and now we have the Dubs in two weeks.” 

That is another step-up, but Powter takes encouragement from the side’s scoring totals, 19 points against Meath and a total of 20 points in St Conleth’s Park. 

“The forwards we have are up there with some of the best in the country. You have Conor Corbett and Cathail O’Mahony coming off the bench. I won’t say they are superstars but they will be up there with the best in the country in a few years. As a corner-back after 50 minutes, I wouldn’t like to see the two of them coming on.” 

Even if Powter and Cork might have an idea of where they need to finish in Division 2 to eventually secure a Sam Maguire Cup place, the visit of Dublin will command all their attention. It’s what new coach Kevin Walsh insists on regardless of opposition.

“Division 2 this year, if you finish in the top four I think you’re near enough guaranteed to be in the Sam Maguire. But we’re just taking it game by game. That’s one thing Kevin Walsh has brought. He has said, ‘Do not focus on the future.’ He came in and said, ‘I want ye to win the McGrath Cup’ and we did that. The Kildare game is done now and it’s on to play Dublin.”

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