Brian Cuthbert says he will review the dual players situation at the end of the season, declining to say for now that the arrangement is sustainable.
Eoin Cadogan, Damien Cahalane and Aidan Walsh have trained exclusively with the footballers for the last two weeks. However, their Munster SFC preparations were affected by the hurlers’ provincial quarter-final replay with Waterford.
“Both Jimmy Barry-Murphy and myself would have taken this step-by-step,” remarked Cuthbert. “When we looked at the league it worked out fine, the fact the three of them were injured and played very little league games. Then the hurling happened before we got going and the draw against Waterford probably threw a spanner in the works for us in terms of selecting Eoin, Aidan and Damien for the Tipperary game.
“But I’d like to think that it’s been managed as well as it could be managed. I’d like to think at the end of this season we’re going to have to sit down and look at the merits and demerits because there are certainly pluses and minuses to it. We’ll wait until the end of the year before we decide whether it’s something sustainable or not.”
Cahalane is one of six changes to the Cork team for Saturday’s qualifier with Sligo from the team that lost to Kerry.
Speaking on 2FM’s Game On last night, Cuthbert said: “People like dual players understand they have to be treated the same as everybody else. When they’re playing well, they’re playing well and if they’re not playing so well, they’re not playing so well and must suffer consequences.
“To be fair to Eoin, Aidan and Damien, they’re making as good a fist of it as they can. But at the same time, there are drawbacks to it as well. Looking at it from where I’m looking at it, we’re managing it as best we can. You obviously like to have your players with you all of the time within the group but it’s just not the way it worked out this year due to the arrangement that we decided a long time ago. You’ve to stand and fall on that and players have to stand and fall on that.”
Cuthbert says the personnel switches reflect how players have been performing in training since the loss in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. He believes Cork’s inexperience of playing against defensively-minded teams cost them in their Munster campaign.
“We’ve learned obviously that the league is quite different to championship. The league was quite good to us in terms of the way we played and the way we set out to play. But there was a slight flaw in that the teams we’ve played so far, both Tipperary and Kerry, they’d a load of bodies behind the ball and we found that difficult to break down.
“Whereas in Division 1 there wasn’t one game we played where anybody played a mass defence whereas in Division 2 I would like to think teams had a lot more experience of playing mass defences.
“That kind of lulled us into a false sense of security in one way but it didn’t in another because there was a bit of an expectancy that this was going to happen.
“We’re probably somewhere in between the very good form we showed against Dublin in the first 40 minutes (in Division 1 semi-final) and we’d like to think we’re a long way away from what we showed in the Munster final.”
Describing the Sligo game as Cork’s All-Ireland final, Cuthbert stressed: “The Cork team is a good football team. There are certain departments we have to improve on, certainly, but in terms of football I don’t think we are lacking there.”
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