John Meyler, Donal O’Mahony and Kieran Murphy clearly view O’Mahony as the long-term best bet at centre-back. He was utilised there for most of last spring until an injury on the eve of championship opened the door for Mark Ellis to regain the pivotal slot.
O’Mahony never quite got into the flow of the game on Jones Road but you’d have still assumed his future lay under high-deliveries from Anthony Nash and as a goal threat; more Setanta Ó hAilpín than Seán Óg.
The deployment of sweepers or seventh defenders is as much a reaction to the mobility of the modern number 11 as a negative tactic. Cork went down that road in 2015 but they were still opened up in the All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Galway afterwards.
Declan Hannon and Gearóid McInerney are different types of defenders, with Hannon as a former attacker less naturally abrasive then McInerney, but they anchored those All-Ireland winning sides with aplomb.
Cork haven’t really nailed down their number six since the halcyon days of the mid-noughties and Ronan Curran, though Ellis had some terrific matches in recent years.
For all the cheap shots taken by some supporters at Damien Cahalane as Cork full-back – and from this writer’s perspective, he’s an automatic choice in the defence – there needs to be a structure in place to close down space.