Happy Brian Cuthbert hails Donncha O’Connor’s ‘calming and clinical presence’

Brian Cuthbert saluted Donncha O’Connor last night on his instrumental role in turning this affair in Cork’s favour.

When O’Connor arrived on the field in the 49th minute, Cork were five points down but he began the comeback with a free in the 52nd minute and then added one from play five minutes later. He was a calming and clinical presence for the remainder of the game, setting up moves and looked assured in possession.

“Massive,” said Cuthbert of O’Connor’s impact. “Donncha has done a lot of Cork football this last 15 years, and he’s one of the leaders in our team. Putting him in at that time I thought was the thing to do.

“We had lost control of the game and he, more than anybody else, grabbed control of the game back for us. He played very well, played very intelligent football.”

Asked if he ranked the win higher than the previous victory against Kerry, Cuthbert said he couldn’t compare, again emphasising it was March.

However, he was pleased his defence held Tyrone to four second half points, all from frees. “The wind was very strong, and that suited what we were going to do anyway, in that, bringing the lads on, we had an extra 10 or 15 yards to shoot.

“I thought in the first half we were actually controlling the game. We actually played quite well against their system. We actually moved them quite well and we scored seven or eight points.

“The two goals we gave away were quite poor. Only for those two goals, we were in a very comfortable position. But it’s March and it’s the league and we have a very long way to go.”

Of where the win, their fourth of the campaign leaves them, Cuthbert can assume with some certainty Cork are at least safe. “It’s nice head into two weeks (break) top of the table. But at the same time, with Mayo coming to Cork, with the result the other night (v Dublin), it’s going to be a very, very tough game.

“We’re at home, you want to win all your home games, regardless of where you sit in the table, and certainly we know we have a big one coming.”


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