Cork senior hurling selector Seanie McGrath admits his team have lacked consistency in this year’s championship.
McGrath pointed to their most recent outing as evidence of that inconsistency.
“It was obviously more evident in the Waterford game than in any other, but there were periods coming up to half-time when we were completely out of the game.
“After a whirlwind start we seemed to fade, but to balance that, I think the team is showing a good maturity. That would have been an easy one to lose. Waterford were in pole position. Their big players were doing well and showing leadership and it would have been easy for our lads to let the heads go down.
“But, in fairness, they showed maturity and came up trumps in the five-ten minute period when you really need scores. So, while the lack of consistency is a worry, the effort and maturity lads are showing is good, and we’re hoping to combine those to get a victory.
“What you want any day is both the performance and victory, but we’re still in an All-Ireland semi-final and hopefully we can work on the consistency.”
McGrath said Cork have learned from their qualifier games.
“I’d prefer the direct route. The fewer games you play the better — to win an All-Ireland with just four games is great. We’d have had a provincial semi, provincial final, semi-final and final that way. I’d take that any day. But we are where we are and we learned things from the qualifier games. I’m not sure what Galway will say about the gap in games, but we certainly learned from the Offaly and Wexford games.”
The Glen Rovers clubman is aware of criticism that Cork haven’t fed their dangerous full-forward line with direct ball.
“The forward line hasn’t changed dramatically in recent years. Patrick Horgan and Paudie O’Sullivan have been there for a while, but what we’ve been trying to do is get the ball in as quickly as we can to the full-forward line, and there were times in the last game when we were disappointed with the slow ball going in.
“But we’re confident we have guys there who can take their men on and snipe a goal. We’ve goaled in most of our games and we’re happy with that, and Ger [Cunningham] and Jimmy [Barry-Murphy] have been instilling that in the lads.”
McGrath acknowledges Kilkenny’s loss to Galway may have given other counties confidence, but also says that can be hamper those counties’ focus.
“The problem with that is that it can slip some complacency into the camp. Kilkenny showed the last day that they haven’t gone away. They weren’t particularly impressive in the first-half but they were awesome, to be honest, in the second-half. Their experienced players, like Shefflin, have shown they haven’t gone away. He showed he’s recovered from his shoulder injury and he was electrifying in the first-half, when some of the Kilkenny forwards couldn’t buy a score. He came up with two massive goals.
“They haven’t gone away, but we’re focused on ourselves. Any camp worth its salt will focus on what’s going on internally. The result of the Leinster final was good for Galway, obviously, but we know we still have a massive task if we were to meet Kilkenny.”
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