Tony Considine: Cork weren't good enough, on the field or on the line

Tony Considine: Cork weren't good enough, on the field or on the line

Alan Cadogan of Cork in action against Calum Lyons of Waterford at Semple Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

THIS was a huge week for Cork as they celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of Christy Ring, the hurling legend. 

One of his great passions was to play in the Munster championship and to give every last ounce he had for Cork. For every game and every ball he hurled. If he was looking down from above on Saturday I'm sure he would be both angry and disappointed at how easily Cork were beaten.

This was more than a four-point victory for Waterford. They were by far the better team in every aspect of the game. They brought intensity and physicality, along with know-how and skill. 

Liam Cahill definitely knows how to beat Cork teams, carrying on from his time with Tipperary underage squads. He always has his charges ready for the battle, as well as having a good direct plan for his players to carry on to the field. 

He expects every player to do the job they are given to do, and tactically he is very aware of how to dictate the terms.

He also expects his players to be leaders. This was very evident on Saturday. All the main hurlers on show were from Waterford. 

Shane McNulty, Conor Prunty, Calum Lyons, Kevin Moran, Stephen Bennett, Des Hutchinson and above all Jamie Barron and Tadhg de Búrca, who was magnificent and deservedly got Man of the Match. Yet all of them were contenders for that prize before you'd pick one Cork player.

Waterford must be very happy to be in a Munster final completely against the odds. And while this was a strange year, you still have to get your preparation right. 

Cork did not seem to. From the outset, they didn't appear to have a plan. If they did, it was not carried out. 

They lacked leaders, apart from Mark Coleman and Shane Kingston, and to a lesser extent Patrick Horgan, leadership was non-existent. Hurling for five or 10 minutes in any game is no good.  

Leadership comes when your team really needs you, when things are going against you, it is then you have to do something about it. Cork did not have enough players doing that. 

And I'm sure when they look back at this they will be very disappointed.

They have some very good hurlers when things are going well, but when it is going the other way, some of them seem to go into hiding. 

The Munster championship is no place for hiding, in fact inter-county hurling doesn't have room for passengers.

They also seem to play a lot of individual hurling at times, when the collective approach would be much better. 

I'm sure a lot of Cork supporters looking at this game, and there are many, would be very disappointed with some of the very lazy frees that Cork were giving away. When you start doing that, it tells me you are not really tuned in. 

I would also say that they would be disappointed with leadership from the management. Kieran Kingston and his selectors will have to make some hard calls this week. 

It's not good enough pulling the jersey over your head anymore, you have to be well able to fill that jersey when you are playing for a county like Cork.

Unfortunately, some of these players did not do that on Saturday. The selectors must remind them of that at every opportunity. 

Also, the management have to look at themselves and look at the reasons why these players are not doing that. This is where Kingston and co have to be strong and make the hard calls. 

Seán O'Leary-Hayes of Cork battles Jack Fagan of Waterford in the Munster hurling semi-final. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Seán O'Leary-Hayes of Cork battles Jack Fagan of Waterford in the Munster hurling semi-final. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

It is not easy at times but this is why you are put in to do the job. Have you got the best players on the field? Are they giving you their best effort? Or are they going through the motions? 

If the latter be the case, why are they still there? This is the responsibility of all management set-ups.

Some of the Cork players have been failing now for a while, getting into a comfort zone can be the cause of that at times. 

That means you need to freshen it up. That is if you have players good enough to bring in. I'm sure a county the size of Cork should have them.

Also, I find it very surprising that the county champions Blackrock do not even have a representative on the present panel. 

Is there a reason for that? Are they not interested? Or are they just not good enough?

It is going to be a big week for all the players and management as they are in the qualifiers now with very little time for recovery. It is all or nothing from now on for this Cork team.

There is going to be no easy touch in the qualifiers route.

The big question over this Cork team now is simple:

Are they good enough? 

The one thing Cork teams always believe is that they are... but as a lot of their supporters would say, it is time they started to show it.

Like the great Christy Ring would do in his day.

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