Cork hurlers to change their starting 15 and attitude says Tony Considine

Cork hurlers to change their starting 15 and attitude says Tony Considine

Mark Coleman of Cork scores a point from a sideline cut against Waterford. The Rebels need to bring savage intensity to the Dublin game. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

I'M sure Kieran Kingston was scratching his head at the end of the game last Saturday and maybe asking himself the question 'why did I come back to this?' 

That is what managers do. Lots of things go around in your head, like, did we do enough on the training ground? Did we do too much? 

Did I pick the right team? Could I have made more changes? 

Are these players good enough? 

All these thoughts can keep you awake at night, but I suppose the biggest question of all is 'how can I get this right for the next day?' Do I go with players who have done well in the past or do I go for wholesale changes?

Christopher Joyce of Cork in action against Austin Gleeson of Waterford last weekend. Physicality will be crucial against Dublin. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Christopher Joyce of Cork in action against Austin Gleeson of Waterford last weekend. Physicality will be crucial against Dublin. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

The manager will have a little bit of doubt about themselves too. The hard calls must be made, a ruthless approach, because for Cork everything is on the line. 

It's do or die. Those questions have to be answered by the management team but more importantly by the players. 

Out of the championship after a week... not a nice prospect, especially for such a proud hurling county like Cork. Time to steel yourselves lads, and put your bodies on the line because this isn't going to be easy.

I think Cork have a lot of advantages. They have already played a game in Thurles. Dublin don't get to play much at this venue. 

Also it is important Cork play right away after last week, still hurting big time, and after a lot of criticism especially from their own. They will surely go out to prove everybody wrong. Criticism can hurt, but it also can be very true. They are proud players and they will want to show what they're really about.

What Cork team will take the field? Will Eoin Cadigan, if fit, be there? And Colm Spillane. Will Stephen McDonnell's experience be added? I believe Niall O'Leary is worth his place. 

Luke Meade could get a run. His work-rate is very valuable. Declan Dalton, a big physically imposing player in the forwards, offers something Cork badly need. He is well able to take his scores. 

Youngsters like Patrick Collins and Billy Hennessy are options too. I think they will improve the team and need to.

Cork will need to bring savage intensity and aggression to this game, something they were missing big time last Saturday. Dublin here will bring plenty of that, the same as they did in the second half against Kilkenny last week.

Kilkenny's Eoin Cody with James Madden and Conor Burke of Dublin battling at Croke. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Kilkenny's Eoin Cody with James Madden and Conor Burke of Dublin battling at Croke. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Dublin have big physical players all over the field, guys like Eoghan O'Donnell, Daire Gray, Conor Burke, Cian O'Callaghan, all very good defenders. They have a good midfield paring in Sean Moran and Ryan McBride. 

Dublin's attack is led brilliantly by Chris Crummey, another powerful hurler. Danny Sutcliffe and Cian Boland are there too. 

And of course, the man that can do real damage, and I believe there is Cork blood in him, is Donal Burke. He's a brilliant free-taker and their leading score-getter. 

This is not going to be an easy task for Cork. 

Dublin ran the Cats very close last week, and lost by a whisker! But my question about Dublin and something Cork should be asking as well, why did they go 16 points behind in the game? 

I think Cork will have to start really well here and not take the foot off the pedal till the final whistle.

It's a long long time since Dublin beat Cork in the championship, I think 1927 was the last time it happened. I know they do not meet too often, but that is a proud record for Cork to have.

I'm sure Kieran Kingston will be reminding players of that, a lot of history on the line here for this team, and for Cork.

Shane Kingston in attack-mode. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Shane Kingston in attack-mode. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

It seems not so long ago that Cork would be unbackable favourites to win this game, It would actually be a foregone conclusion that Cork would run away with it. 

It is not like that now.

Is that because Dublin have improved so much in the last few years? Or is it because Cork have gone backwards? Maybe we will know a lot more after this weekend.

This is going to be a very big battle, with plenty of physicality and intensity. This is the first knockout game of the championship and I am expecting fireworks. 

And you know what this championship needs that. Let the referee throw it in and let them at it!

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