Belfast Telegraph

It's now or never for Cork to stand up and show statement of intent

By Peter Canavan

Cork will have all the motivation going into this weekend, listening to their neighbours crowing about an unlikely All-Ireland win, and having put up with savage abuse from inside and out of the county since the National League final defeat to Dublin.

But to win this game, they have three key areas to address.

The first lies in midfield, and stopping the dominant display from the Kerry midfield last year when they totally outplayed Cork.

They have Alan O'Connor back, Eoin Cadogan was playing there, they have different options but they also have plenty of time to work on a kickout system to suit them, rather than Kerry, who just bossed their kickouts last year.

Cork need a proper defensive system in place. Kerry won last year by playing very straightforward football - winning the ball in midfield and kicking it into the full-forward line.

Cork have had plenty of time to work on that behind closed doors.

The third aspect that I am sure they will have worked on is their physical fitness. If they are going to get bodies back, the running game requires a high standard of fitness and Cork haven't been the team celebrating winning an All-Ireland. They have no reason not to be a fitter team than Kerry. The Pat Flanagan factor - Jack O'Connor's trainer when he was manager of Kerry - substantiates my view that they will be the fitter.

It's near time they lived up to their Rebel reputation. There are more and more people jumping on the bandwagon to say they are chokers and going nowhere.

It's come to a stage where they are going to have to stand up and make a statement of intent.

No better time to make that than Munster final day.

Verdict: Cork

Belfast Telegraph


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