Cork footballers need to learn how to win again, says selector Eoin O’Neill

Cork football selector Eoin O’Neill says the Rebels need to get rid of the ‘peak and trough’ performances and become more consistent.

Cork drew with Galway and lost to Kildare in their opening league games and the pressure is on to record a victory at home to Fermanagh today.

“You can’t think of it as pressure because you want the lads to perform,” O’Neill maintained.

“In our games to date, we should have beaten Galway, I think we’re all agreed on that - we missed a lot of chances.

“In Kildare we didn’t deserve to win, there’s no point in saying otherwise. We have to execute a bit more, and that’s been our focus - to get rid of the pressure and to improve the team, to take more scores and to be in a better position to win.

“It’s about that process, and I know people talk about the process all the time, but this team needs to learn to win again, and we’ve to try to do that.

“We’re there to help the players to get better, but what you want to do is to get them to be as consistent as they can be, and we just didn’t get that in the first two league games - we got a good performance for most of the Galway game, and we didn’t get that for the majority of the Kildare game.

“That peak and trough thing is something we have to get out of their game because if they’re more consistent I think we’ll win a lot more games.

“That’s not rocket science, everyone knows that, and I think we could do with a couple of morale-boosting wins. When you’re winning, that does give you the confidence to win.”

O’Neill said they recalled past experiences when discussing the Kildare game: “I recalled the 2009 game with Kildare when I was with Conor (Counihan’s) in the Cork backroom, we only got a draw with a last-minute score. They’re hard places to go, but it builds character if you can get something out of them.”

As for Fermanagh, O’Neill pointed to the recent McKenna Cup, where they only lost to Tyrone by three points: “Tyrone won that competition fairly comprehensively afterwards. They’re a quality team, they’ve lost a game and won a game so they need something from their third game, which is probably a similar situation to ours. They have a proven manager in Pete McGrath and my take is they’re fit, committed and play a system that’s tough to counter. We’re under no illusions, particularly as the weather conditions are meant to be pretty bad, and that can be another leveller.”

O’Neill added that Brian Hurley and Eoin Cadogan are fit again and Stephen Cronin has returned after the Sigerson Cup.


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