A lot of the Cork players are in a comfort zone... if they're not careful they'll be watching the rest of the season from the comfort of their couches

A lot of the Cork players are in a comfort zone... if they're not careful they'll be watching the rest of the season from the comfort of their couches
Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

ONE of the greats of Tipperary hurling, John Doyle, once said, that he would hate the thought of beating Cork in the Championship on a Sunday, and wake up on Monday morning to discover that they are still in the Championship. Cork are still in this championship, but for how long?

Going on Sunday's performance, it does not look good for them.

They were leaderless on the field, and in my opinion, leaderless off the field as well.

I know they had a bad start, losing Bill Cooper before the game had even begun, but surely someone should have been able to step up and overcome his loss.

Believe you me, Cork were a very bad second in this contest. I think there are many reasons for that, but first and foremost you have got to bring the right attitude and real aggression and intensity to your game. This begins with the manager — he sets the tone.

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

All the aggression yesterday was on the Tipperary side, and it started with Liam Sheedy on the sideline. He was really pumped up for this game, pucking every ball with his team, feeling elated with everything they did right and feeling the pain when they got it wrong.

A manager has got to get into that zone and has to stay there until the last whistle. I didn’t see anything like that from John Meyler or his management. Players have got to see a reaction from their manager — that keeps them on their toes.

I believe that a lot of these Cork players are in a real comfort zone and if, they don’t get out of it soon, they will be in an actual comfort zone at home watching the championship!

If not for three players — Eoin Cadigan, Niall O’Leary, and Patrick Horgan — this could really have been embarrassing for Cork.

Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Players have to take responsibility for that, and the man who has to take the most is the manager. Tipperary did what they like in this game — their players were dominant all over the pitch, both in hurling and physicality and also mentally.

Remember this is the same Tipp team who could not win a match in Munster last year. So Liam Sheedy and his management team have changed all that around, because there is no doubt in Tipperary or anywhere else, about who is in charge of this team, both on and off the field.

Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

He has them playing hurling in the Tipp way with plenty of spirit and plenty of steel in their play.

The only question I would ask is, how did they allow Cork to stay so long in the game when they were by far the superior team? I’m sure Liam and Co will correct that for their next outing.

Tipperary are in a really good place now when you look at their top performers — Brendan Maher, outstanding, for a man out injured for so long, Noel McGrath, Seamus Callanan, but above all, John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer — apart from Patrick Horgan, is there a better striker of a ball in Ireland than him?

He is a delight to watch and looks a different player altogether from last year — mentally and physically very fit — and he is all the better for it: my man of the match. 

Also that great warrior Pádraic Maher — but Tipp had stars all over the field. It was the opposite to Cork, who really had only the one — Patrick Horgan, who must have a very strong back, as he is carrying this team for a few years now.

I think it’s kick-arse time now for John Meyler with these players. I can’t recall Cork winning any of their own puck-outs let alone the Tipperary ones.

Apart from the good save he made, I have to say I have seen Anthony Nash better on his puck-outs, but then again it's up to the receiver to win the ball. And if you don’t put your hand up for it, what hope have you, and I have seen a lot of the players react like that.

Decision-making was very poor at times, and when losing possession, not fighting hard enough to get it back, which is what Tipperary did all day long.

Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

A lot of Cork supporters very disappointed with the standard of Cork’s first touch. At this level, you don’t get time on the ball. First touch has to be first touch.

To win a home game is very important in this championship — first and foremost you are getting your own supporters behind you, and the players need that.

As has always been the case, they love players with heart and spirit and battling like tigers, and they like their manager to show that same heart and passion as well. That was a bit one-sided in this game.

John Meyler and his management team have a week to get this right — it’s long enough.

I have to say that the GAA authorities in Cork had everything right for yesterday as regards ground and stadium in general. A pity the team did not match that.

One big crib I have about yesterday, and I’d say a lot of people were like me, was the standard of refereeing — it was brutal — he would not see a foul in a hen house!

Surely players and supporters alike, deserve a lot better than what we saw.

I know it’s a hard job and you can’t satisfy everyone, but some of his decisions were unbelievable. I’d say both Tipperary and Cork would agree on this.

Cork know the road is uphill now, and it's getting steeper but as John Doyle said, they are still in it.

Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

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