Conor Counihan has challenged the rest of his Cork footballers to take a leaf out of Aidan Walsh’s book after a stuttering start to the Allianz League campaign in Division One.
The Kanturk midfielder gave a colossal performance for the reigning league champions in Newry yesterday, scoring five points from a combination of open play and deadballs and putting in an all-round shift that did more than any to deliver the county’s first points of the 2013 competition.
The winning score said everything about the DCU’s student’s input as he won possession in midfield by sheer force of will before starting the move that ended with Ciaran Sheehan’s dramatic three-pointer with just seconds of injury time to go.
“You would have to say that we rode our luck a bit there and if I was Down I would be gutted altogether,” said Counihan. “But, look, we kept ploughing away at it and Aidan Walsh won a ball that he had no right to win on the wing there at the end to set it up. You need fellas like that to step up at those times.
“We were extremely fortunate that he did. He stood up there and kicked points from play and from frees and that is the Aidan of old that we haven’t seen in the last few weeks. Thankfully, he is back in that now and other fellas need to get back on track too.”
Counihan’s views were shared by his players afterwards in that there was satisfaction with the points bagged but acceptance that the performance was nowhere near the level required if they are to pull away from the relegation zone and build solid foundations towards the summer.
Cork have yet to face Tyrone, Donegal, Kerry and Mayo in the league but they will tick off the first of those boxes next weekend when they embark on another northern odyssey where they will encounter a Tyrone side buoyed by their defeat of All-Ireland champions Donegal yesterday.
“It’s very competitive,” said Ciaran Sheehan. “It’s probably crucial that we get another two points there.
“Fingers crossed we can go up and get the result that we want.”
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