Former Cork footballer Colman Corrigan expressed reservation at management’s decision to invite Aidan Walsh and Alan Cadogan onto the panel midway through the championship given the pair have been “cocooned” within the county’s hurling set-up since last winter.
The two-time All Star says he’d be hugely surprised if Walsh or Cadogan was included in the match-day 26 for Saturday’s third round qualifier away to Longford given the amount of ball either has kicked in recent weeks.
“I would have my reservations, I’m just worried by the amount of football both have played,” said Corrigan.
“I don’t know whether this had been agreed at the start of the year between the management and the possible hurlers-come-footballers. Had it been touted to the panel of football players? I don’t know.
“I would also say there is going to be a fair amount of pressure from the Cork public on the two of them at coming back whenever they do enter the fray. If they play badly they will be saying ‘Jesus, what the hell were they doing coming back’. There is a lot at stake there for both of them, the Cork management and the Cork panel. I wasn’t completely surprised when I heard they had joined the panel but, at the same, I know there are plenty of people out there saying, ‘how is this going to sit with lads who have been training since January’.
“I asked myself when I heard the news, ‘how much football have these guys been playing’. I know Aidan Walsh pretty well. I don’t know Alan Cadogan but from seeing him play U21. Both of them are very, very good footballers. But as we know and have been complaining about for long enough at inter-county level, players of inter-county standard like Aidan and Alan are wrapped up in a cocoon with the hurlers for the last couple of months. They couldn’t have a huge amount of football played with their clubs because of their input into inter-county hurling. Even since Aidan Walsh has played senior inter-county last, the landscape has changed. Alan Cadogan hasn’t played senior inter-county football yet.”
And while he wouldn’t entirely agree with either being put on the bench at Pearse Park ahead of a player who has been training with the panel since last December, he can appreciate management may want “to go the full hog” and give the pair some game-time. “I would find it very strange if they were picked on the match-day 26 because what about the guys who didn’t make the starting 26 against Tipperary and didn’t make the starting 26 against Limerick, how does that fit into the mix and how do they feel. There are some very fine footballers there who haven’t made the 26 on either day and have been training all along.”
He added: “There is a catch 22 situation. There is no point bringing them back and not having them involved. If it was a case this move had been pre-empted and players were aware of such, I could see a case for the two lads being included and, if the game was going well, that they be given 15 or 20 minutes.”
Liam Connerton’s Longford shocked Monaghan in Clones last Saturday. Corrigan, though, doesn’t believe the Rebels will encounter much by the way of difficulty when they travel to the midlands.
“I’d be confident Cork would come out of there with a win. If Cork pick the right team, they can give anyone a game. I could not figure out why Peter Kelleher was not playing against Tipp. Paddy Kelly is back in full flow and I would also be giving one or two of the U21s their head.”
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