Tony Considine: Cork management deserve credit for making the hard calls

Tony Considine: Cork management deserve credit for making the hard calls

Jack O'Connor of Cork in action against Paddy Smyth of Dublin. The changes to the starting 15, and most importantly attitude, paid off. Picture: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

A FAMOUS manager once said: 'There's only six inches between a slap on the back and a kick up the arse'. 

I'm sure Kieran Kingston knows all about that now. 

I'm sure on the way to this game he had a lot of worries after the no-show against Waterford. Fair play to Kieran Kingston he made big calls here. That is what a strong manager does. 

You sink or swim by the calls you make, but the worst thing to do is not to make that call at all. Fair play to Kieran, he dropped a third of his team, and in my opinion, rightly so, on their performance from last week. 

As everyone knows, you are judged from game to game. This time, Kieran and his management team got a 9/10.

Kingston and Dublin manager Mattie Kenny after. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Kingston and Dublin manager Mattie Kenny after. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

He had only one short week to get it right, and a lot of planning went into that. He had to get it right with the personnel on the team as well as the game plan, and the positioning of his players. 

He needed the players' attitude spot-on to carry out those plans. They were. 

The greatest game-plan is to get the win because that's what you're really judged by.  I'm sure Kieran won't take too much notice of all the praise he is getting now, because in a week there is another game to contend with. 

So the focus immediately switches to that and doing the same thing all over again.

This was a different Cork team that took to the field, tuned in from the very first ball, full of intensity, aggression and spirit, and with a lot of skill and movement about their play. 

Colm Spillane and Robert Downey shored up the centre of defence. Downey, especially, took danger-man Chris Crummy out of the game and completely blotted him out in the first half. 

Robert Downey shut down Chris Crummey. Picture: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Robert Downey shut down Chris Crummey. Picture: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Spillane protected his square and Sean O'Donoghue was like a tiger in the corner on the other big threat, Eamon Dillon. You could see right away that Cork meant business. Their work-rate was exceptional, especially in their forwards, with Robbie O'Flynn and Seamus Harnedy very good on the wings, switching from one to the other, creating space and scoring some fantastic points.

Newcomer Jack O'Conner, with his electrifying pace, was causing problems. The strength of Declan Dalton was doing likewise. Shane Kingston continued the good play that he had shown against Waterford. 

Shane Kingston pops a pass. Picture: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
Shane Kingston pops a pass. Picture: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Cork's approach was working perfectly, and I haven't mentioned Patrick Horgan here, who was playing a roving role at centre-forward, and slotting over his few points.

The huge difference in this game as compared to last week, was the savage tackling of the Cork forwards, hitting everything in sight and not giving the Dublin defence any time on the ball. This is always great to see; they were prepared to win the dirty ball at all times.

Another real plus for Cork was the partnership of Bill Cooper and Luke Meade. This was the engine of the Cork team, and they set the tone all day. 

It was well worth recalling Meade to this position. He has great pace, works extremely hard and lays off some great ball. He's able to move from his own 21 to the opposing 21, sending out a message that he should always be on from the start. 

All through, Cork's hurling was really sharp, their touch was excellent, but above all their attitude was first class.

Another huge plus for Cork was the placing of Mark Coleman as sweeper. How Dublin allowed him to be free for the whole match is a mystery as he hit more ball than anyone on the field. 

His reading of the play was first class, and his touch and distribution was magnificent, setting up attack after attack for Cork. I thought Dublin were very poor tactically here, and Coleman punished them every time. 

Dublin's Conor Burke dejected after. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Dublin's Conor Burke dejected after. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

This was a poor performance from Dublin. Cork were by far the better team, in every aspect of the game, and it was more than a six-point victory for them.

Apart from Danny Sutcliffe, Donal Burke and Eoghan O'Donnell, who gave their all, Dublin were well beaten all over the field. Mattie Kenny will have a lot of thinking to do. 

Is it the end for him with this team? In my opinion, it is. 

Apart from a second-half performance against Kilkenny a week ago Dublin have had a poor year, and a very short one.

It's onwards and upwards for Cork, and I'm sure Kieran and his management team are already planning for next weekend. Enjoy the slaps on the back this time, but always remember the six-inch rule!

I'm sure he will, especially after the week he has had.

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