Tom Kenny is confident of a Cork victory on Sunday. Concentrating Rebel minds will be the Munster final berth up for grabs, but equally pertinent, says the former midfielder, is atoning for last year’s All-Ireland semi-final thumping.
This is the first championship meeting of the counties since Waterford put four goals past Cork to book their place in last September’s decider.
Waterford’s season may already be over, but former Cork ace Kenny believes John Meyler’s charges will want to put down a marker with their neighbours.
“People in the Cork camp have to remember back to last year and the All-Ireland semi-final. Cork went up as favourites and came home with their tails between their legs. They’ll want to rectify that result in terms of getting one back over Waterford,” the two-time All-Ireland medal winner remarked.
“I know Waterford are dead and buried, in terms of progressing in the championship, but Cork will still want to lay down a statement to them to say, look, we have a young team, we have up and coming players and we have a means that seems to be working so to let Waterford know that Cork are going to be around next year. It has juicy ingredients, but Cork should see it home in the last 15 minutes.”
Kenny sees it as vital that Cork make sure of their place in the Munster final, irrespective of what materialises in Ennis. Taking the most direct route to Croke Park, especially with only four weeks between the provincial decider and All-Ireland semi-final, is imperative.
“The Munster winners have a shorter break to the All-Ireland semi-final. It is perfect timing.
“You’re going to meet the best teams at some point, but it is better to wait until later in the season when you might be playing them off the back of a Munster final win.”
What has pleased Kenny most with regard to Cork’s early championship showings is the resilience they displayed against Tipperary and Limerick.
“They’re very confident in their own ability and sticking to what they know. In the second half against Limerick, yes, they were a man up, but they were under pressure. They stuck to what they knew, they tried to work the ball out of defence and find the man in space. They could have lost the Limerick and Tipp games, but they had enough residue and resilience to get themselves over the line.
“Patrick Horgan was fantastic against Limerick. Mark Coleman has got some great scores, Darragh Fitzgibbon, too. Midfield is tricky. You can play fantastic and maybe not get any scores and people will say you had a quiet game.
“Then other days, you can be quiet but pop over three or four points and people will say you were fantastic. Darragh, he might have been all combustible last year in terms of being on the ball and doing lots of different things. This year, he is popping up with crucial scores. He has brought that into his game.”
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