The Rock pulls no punches as former Cork selectors blasts bad calls by the management and the ref

The Rock pulls no punches as former Cork selectors blasts bad calls by the management and the ref
Former Cork selector and Paddy Power GAA ambassador Diarmuid O'Sullivan. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

CORK legend Diarmuid O'Sullivan believes making changes to the team when the Rebels were in control in Croke Park on Sunday proved very costly against Limerick.

The Rock, a selector in 2016-'17, argued that by introducing three subs in the latter stages John Meyler's management destabilised the side when they appeared to be heading towards the All-Ireland final.

“Within a nine-minute window the management made three substitutions. They brought on Mark Ellis, Robbie O'Flynn and Tim O'Mahony.

“It upset the balance and rhythm of the Cork team. Did any of the three of them offer anything to the game after? It was three changes too quickly. It just killed the momentum. Cork never recovered from it.” 

The former All-Star full-back also took issue with some of the calls made by Paud O'Dwyer, along with Cork's sloppy shooting, with 10 wides coming in the first half.

“The Cork wides were a huge factor, they had 17 of them in total. It was sloppiness.

“Also, let's be honest, the referee Paud O'Dwyer won't be on the Cork Christmas card list either. It was the timeframe from the start of the substitutions on that did the damage for Cork.” 

John Meyler and Kieran Murphy try to drive on their side in Croker. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
John Meyler and Kieran Murphy try to drive on their side in Croker. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

The Paddy Power GAA ambassador was left frustrated by another semi-final defeat, the Rebels' fifth in their last six appearances at that stage, with Limerick marching on to face the winner of the Clare-Galway replay.

“For me, it'll hurt more than the Waterford one. It has to hurt you more than haunt you.

“Cork need primary ball winners. You can't keep flogging the same horses like Harnedy and Lehane. Cork have to find someone to alleviate the pressure on Seamus.

“Nash wasn't going to get the freedom of Croke Park either from the Limerick statistician Sean O'Donnell (who was involved with Cork from 2011 to last year) and so it proved. When Anthony was forced to go a small bit longer in the second half because the space was shut down, it played right into Limerick's hands.” 

The Cloyne native felt the lack of depth in Cork's panel caught them, with Limerick's subs shooting 2-6 to Cork's 0-1.

“We see what Cork had to reintroduce in extra-time, Kingston had to come back on, so did Daniel Kearney for short periods of time. They brought Michael Cahalane on and off again. I've no idea what was going on there.

“At the start of extra-time Seamus Harnedy barely walked out of the dressing rooms, he could hardly go out onto the field and they persisted with him for six minutes - that's criminal."

Despite being hugely critical of the decisions the Cork management made, the columnist for Paddy Power news has no time for anyone calling the Rebels bottlers.

Gearóid Hegarty of Limerick under pressure from Mark Coleman, Eoin Cadogan and Sean O'Donoghue. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Gearóid Hegarty of Limerick under pressure from Mark Coleman, Eoin Cadogan and Sean O'Donoghue. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

“Unfortunately, that's the way Cork supporters are and I've said it before, they're very fickle. I was walking out of the stadium after, there was two Cork lads there and they were having a right go. I actually had murder with them and I looked the two of them in the eye and told them they were an absolute disgrace.”

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