CORK football star Ciarán Sheehan has warned against complacency following the All-Ireland champions’ dismissal of Clare in the Munster championship on Sunday.
The Rebels won by 15 points but Sheehan insists there are issues which need to be addressed.
He said: “We’re taking it game by game, we can be happy enough with the performance but there’s still a lot of room for improvement in our play. At one stage of the second half we faded out of the game and Clare came at us. It was just a case of turning that around and getting back into it.
“We expected that Clare would come at us and they did, we were prepared for that and we were able to bounce back to get the win.”
The Éire Óg youngster acknowledged that having won the All-Ireland last year, Cork are in a ‘no-win’ situation when it comes to games they are expected to win easily, but he points to the side’s experience as a trump card.
“That’s true, it can be hard in these games, with what people expect from us, but at the same time we’re aware of where we stand and what we need to do.
“In this case what was important for us was to get the win, and we did that.”
Sheehan himself gave a terrific performance at wing-forward, though he was named to start at top of the left. He’s keener to spread the credit around to the other attackers.
“Training had been going well for us all along, we were linking up well among the forwards, and I think that showed in the game, particularly in the first 20 minutes or so.
“We were happy enough with how it went, even though, as I say, there’s plenty of room for improvement for the next day out.”
That will be against Waterford in a couple of weeks — another game that Cork will be expected to win handily. Sheehan says they will be concentrating on getting their own house in order.
“The next couple of weeks’ training are going to be very important to us. We need to get things right in training, to work through a few set plays and so on. It’s about getting the links right in our play, but lads have been there before, they’re prepared for that, and we’ll get ourselves ready. We’ll be looking forward to the game.”
Meanwhile, National Referees’ Committee chairman Mick Curley has insisted there is no particular crackdown by officials after six red cards were issued in Sunday’s senior football championship games.
Graham Kelly (Clare), Austin O’Malley (Wicklow), Brian Curran and Eamonn O’Hara (Sligo), Emlyn Mulligan (Leitrim) and Tomás Ó Sé (Kerry) were dismissed in four of the six provincial matches.
“There was no set rule or pattern about the red cards at the weekend,” said Curley. “There was nothing untoward about what happened.
“It might be unusual to see so many red cards in a championship weekend but it’s not as if it didn’t happen before and it will happen again.
“If a referee deems it was a red card, then he sees it that way. If he deems the foul to be worth a yellow then he’ll give the yellow. There was no instruction to get tougher on foul play.”
Meanwhile, Curley has said nothing is certain about Kelly serving a suspension for his head-butt on John Miskella until the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) receive referee Eddie Kinsella’s report.
Kinsella had dismissed Kelly for a second bookable offence before the Clare player hit out at Miskella.
The referee reportedly brandished a straight red card to Kelly as he walked off the field.
If Kelly is cited in the report, he faces at least an eight-week suspension.
“We have to wait for the referee’s report. After that, it might be up to the CCCC to deem the necessary action,” said Curley.
Curley also highlighted the importance of the referees’ warm-up after two whistlers, Marty Duffy (Wicklow v Kildare) and Joe Curley (Sligo v Leitrim), failed to finish their duties on Sunday after sustaining leg injuries.
It is not the first time this season a referee has had to retire injured with a hamstring strain. Laois’ Anthony Stapleton was forced to hand over responsibility to standby official, linesman Barry Kelly, after just eight minutes of the Kilkenny v Offaly Hurling League Division One game last month. However, Stapleton did continue as a linesman.
“It was unusual for two of our guys to suffer problems like that,” remarked Curley. “I don’t think we’ve ever experienced it before. I haven’t spoken to the two guys but they appear to be muscle injuries. The warm-up is important and it’s part of their pre-match preparations although it does not guarantee you against picking up an injury. Like a player, you could turn an ankle or pull a muscle and that’s the nature of the position.”
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