Cork’s footballers will rarely feel as isolated as this evening in the Gaelic Grounds, according to former defender Colman Corrigan.
The Macroom man predicts more of the Cork County Board executive will be in the newly redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh for the Clare-Tipperary All-Ireland SHC quarter-final (3pm throw-in) than at the county’s SFC qualifier clash against Mayo in Limerick (5pm)
Corrigan says Peadar Healy’s side can take inspiration from that: “There isn’t one word about Cork football in Cork at the moment. The hurlers are on the crest of a wave and there’s no denying that. Nobody could be happier than the genuine Cork GAA supporter.
“I’d say almost everybody in the higher echelons of Cork GAA will be heading to Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Will there be as many in the Gaelic Grounds? The footballers are on their own and they need to show some pride, show a bit of fight.”
Corrigan knows from experience how the footballers play second fiddle. “When the hurlers were on the crest of a wave in the early ’80s, we were going down to Killarney and only came away with one result — in ’83. We felt isolated then too.
“Billy Morgan was appointed in November ’86 and he let us know that we were on our own. We had to realise it fast and the response was to come out fighting, show what we were made of. Everybody is on the hurlers’ side, but for the footballers it’s a question of knuckling down and doing it for themselves.”
The burning question hanging over Cork is confidence, according to Corrigan. “Just how much of it was dented after the Kerry result? It was fickle enough going into the game due to a lot of poor results in the league and that obviously led into the championship and them winning the Waterford and Tipperary games by the skin of their teeth.
“I’m not quite sure if they can pick it up but if they go out and play with a bit of freedom, throw off the shackles, they have a chance.”
What gives Corrigan some reason for optimism is the shakiness in Mayo’s belief in themselves. “They aren’t completely full of confidence either, very Jekyll and Hyde against Derry and Clare. You just wonder what Mayo team will turn up. If Cork get at them from the moment the ball is thrown in they could make Mayo start to question themselves. They have taken hits too.
“Like, the defeat to Galway would have shaken them and they were lucky against Derry. Cork must get at them from the start.”
Another concern is the fact that Cork are squandering goal chances at a rate of knots this year.
Following the Kerry defeat, Healy revealed they had failed to convert 19 goal chances across their seven Division 2 games. Corrigan feels it’s imperative they find the net; Colm O’Neill starts this evening.
“We created three very good goalscoring opportunities against Kerry and we have to get that ball moving quickly through the channels so that the ball is put in front of the inside forwards.
“Paul Kerrigan is great at getting goals but there is no better goalscorer in the Cork squad than Colm.
“I know he has suffered injuries but get him the ball, make sure it’s put into him fast and he can cause trouble.”
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