The Tony Considine column: Cork still need to be a bit tighter in defence

The Tony Considine column: Cork still need to be a bit tighter in defence
Picture: Eddie O'Hare

IT has been a busy weekend in Cork with the Sea Fest, the Féile and a good buzz around.

That's often the way it is on Leeside and you would expect a similar buzz for a Munster Championship game if there was something at stake. It was a shame that Waterford were already out before this game.

I know 26,521 people turned up to see this game but I'd say the 21 were from Waterford!

The Waterford fans did not travel and it was hard not to blame them, although I think you should always support your team.

For the few that did travel up, talking to some of them afterwards, they felt the team tried hard on the night, unlike the game against Limerick when they were simply pushed aside and let their county down.

It was tough on Páraic Fanning to try to get his team ready for a pointless game. Fair play to him he did that, but it will be a long winter in Waterford, with a lot of soulsearching.

Nevertheless, I think John Meyler and his team had to be up for this one, which at times can be a hard thing to do, especially when everyone is saying that you will win easy. Cork did their job even though I believe they were not in top gear, and they still put a big score up on the board. The downside here was that they conceded a big score as well.

There are still questions about the Cork defence and it is something that they really have to work on. One defender you could not question was Sean O'Donoghue.

He was taken off the last day against Limerick and people were surprised that he was picked for this game, believing Stephen McDonnell should have got the nod before him.

O'Donoghue was absolutely outstanding on Saturday evening and my man of the match. He did some great covering in the full-back line.

Also, another outstanding defender was Mark Coleman, with the added bonus of scoring a few great points.

Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Darragh Fitzgibbon in the middle of the field performed very well. The rest for the league seems to have done him good because over the last number of weeks as he was back to his best. Daniel Kearney was his usual busy self along with Seamus Harnedy. And Luke Meade worked very hard.

Once again the men who did the real damage were inside.

Alan Cadogan has lightning pace and causes all sorts of problems for defenders. His scoring ability is lethal. It's a serious plus for Cork he is free of injury this year so far.

Alongside him was probably the best hurler in Ireland at the moment: Patrick Horgan. He is the real danger in this Cork team, both from frees and from play.

Has there been a better Cork forward in the last 30 or 40 year? There definitely has not been a more complete hurler, in my opinion. He has a brilliant temperament and a brilliant sportsman as well.

Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Even though people pull and drag at him and he is a marked man every day, he always seems to deliver, no matter how big or how small the occasion. I think he is a real model for any young person looking at the game.

Cork are lucky to have a guy like this. I would go so far as to say that the GAA are lucky to have a guy like this.

All the talk last year about Cork was that their panel was not strong enough. Well they have rectified that this year, and this game really confirmed it.

Shane Kingston came on, scored three great points. Conor Lehane also contributed as did Tim O'Mahony when he got his opportunity.

O'Mahony has proved how versatile he is, having played both in defence for Cork and in the forwards. Now he's playing at midfield... all that's left is in goal!

So what that says to me is clearly this Cork team are stronger now than they were last year with the depth of their panel.

Qualification out of Munster is in Corks own hands now. They have really improved since that first bad day out against Tipperary, but they also know that they have a lot more improving to do. They cannot be giving away the scores they are conceding and must concentrate on their defence and man-marking duties.

Waterford caused them problems. Eoin Cadogan was well tested by Stephen Bennett. Peter Hogan caused problems as did Shane Bennett. As a unit Cork have to work harder in this department and really cut out the danger.

I also believe that Cork need to get more goals from their attack. They are a great team to get points but the killer punch of a goal is very important.

They got two brilliant goals on Saturday evening and I believe they have to go for more of them, rather than points. This is something the team need to focus on, the ruthless streak.

All good teams have to develop that aspect.

It's on to Ennis next for Cork and the year is over for this Waterford team. Again. It's hard to know what is going to happen down there. If they change the manager that takes the blame away from everybody else, doesn't it?

I think a lot of these Waterford players need to take a good long look in the mirror, and come up with questions about themselves. Then I'm sure their supporters will get behind them again.

That would be good for Waterford and good for the game of hurling.

More about Corks trip to Ennis later in the week.

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