With anecdotal reports suggesting there’s been a real bite to recent Cork training sessions, captain Graham Canty admits he judges the quality of an in-house game by the presence of flashpoints in it.
According to the Bantry man, if there isn’t a bit of needle to proceedings then the intensity isn’t sufficient.
“There’s a good edge to it over the last few weeks. In every training session there’d be some minor incident when it spills over. And if that doesn’t happen, it’s been a poor training session.
“If there’s not a minor thing between one or two players, you’re thinking we’re not going well.
“You want to replicate the championship intensity so you need that edge to happen.
“A lot of the time we don’t shake hands after those incidents, we view it as minor and about drive on for the rest of the session. It’s very easy to have that hunger when there’s competition for places.”
Knowing Kieran McGeeney from their International Rules playing days together, he is certain the former Armagh skipper will have brought plenty of fire and brimstone to Kildare’s training sessions.
“He was a great fella to motivate team-mates and he always lead by example with his actions on the pitch.
“He captained Armagh to an All-Ireland title in 2002 for the first time ever and that shows what high esteem he’s held in.
“I think he’s done a decent job in Kildare assembling a very good panel. He always had leadership and management credentials.
“He’s built away with his back room team and I think Kildare are a very solid side.
“It’s just been fine lines between them progressing to All-Ireland semi-finals and finals.”
That being said, Canty doesn’t buy into the idea of teams needing a rub of the green.
Kildare can point to contentious decisions going against them in 2010 and last year but he maintains the best teams take their opportunities.
“I fully believe in sport you make your own luck. If you’re good enough you will get a chance and if you’re really good you’ll take it.
“In 2010 we went to extra-time against Limerick, they pushed us really hard and the same thing happened to Kildare recently. They’re the tough games you need.”
Kildare come into the game on the back of three wins in as many weeks compared to Cork’s two victories in eight. That’s a massive disparity although Canty is comfortable with his county’s preparations going into the game.
“The last few weeks we’ve been lucky to have the club fixtures rescheduled. We’ve a good body of work done and you’re hoping that is enough.
“We haven’t had injury problems to the same extent this year. Last year we were missing a very similar type of player, a scoring forward. It’s very hard to replace all of them. It was a big drain on our resources.”
Having missed the Munster final against Clare through injury, Canty is expected to return to the team for Sunday’s All-Ireland quarter-final.
However, he doesn’t believe his captaincy role counts in his favour.
“Definitely not. Conor’s job is to pick the best team. Captain or no captain, 10 years or six months on the panel, it doesn’t matter. You pick the best team.”
Cork will also aim at the weekend to maintain their superb record of having conceded just two goals this season.
“As a defender that’s always something you look at and pride yourself on. We’ve done well this year but we’ve had to rely on [Alan] Quirkey a few times in goal to help us.
“But it’s no point just concentrating on the goals, if you conceded a load of points as well.”
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