IT’S certainly not easy to be writing this article so soon after the Munster final disappointment.
Two hammerings so close together will definitely require questions to be asked. Cork had too many soft turnovers in the Munster final, players not seeing the defensive cover before it was too late.
Tyrone were going to possibly provide a more stringent test on this weakness in the Cork game considering how Tyrone protect the central channel from there own 45 inwards.
This certainly proved the case as after only a few minutes Cork had three turnovers in possession and Michael Hurley was blown for over carrying the ball.
Cork were too narrow, not moving the ball quick enough and heading into cul de sacs. Immediately this laid a platform for Tyrone to launch their efficient counter-attacking game.
Cork struggled on their long kick-outs once again losing four in a row, long options early in the first half. Considering Aidan Walsh was dropped it was expected that Cork would use the short option more but Tyrone had this well covered.
Tyrone scored four points in the first quarter but could easily have had three goals also. Cork did respond with three points in succession through greater injection of pace into their running game and some good switching of the play.
Ruairí Deane started this process with a typical point from a direct run from the wing similar to the Kerry game. Rather than give Cork a foothold in the game, Tyrone raised the tempo once again and they were double scores at eight points to four.
It was only a four-point lead but even at that early stage, Tyrone looked like certain winners. There were just too many similarities to the Kerry game.
Tyrone won as expected and it was certainly not easy to watch from a Cork perspective. They had careless periods but there was still much to admire from their play.
Niall Morgan justified his recall with some excellent kick-outs. It was a feature the understanding between players whether it was from kick-outs or when transitioning quickly into the Cork half.
Tyrone can be criticized for not kicking the ball more but against Cork they certainly showed the ability to kick pass the ball accurately and provide variety to their attack.
This was either through a neat pass for Tyrone’s inside forwards to run onto or for a kick pass over the top after winning a long kick-out.
The argument could be Cork’s lack of pressure allowed this to happen so it will be interesting can Tyrone play similarly versus Dublin and Donegal. One striking area defensively was the effort in players to get back and protect the goal.
Cork did counter effectively on occasions and turn the Tyrone defence but a goal was not conceded as players got back goal-side and protected the Tyrone goal at all costs. This was in contrast with Cork where the effort was inconsistent which is just not good enough at this level.
This may have been a tactical, physical, or mental issue but never the less it was striking the difference between the teams.
Tyrone are certainly good enough to make the last four again this year, but I just sense there are still defensive weaknesses, which could be exposed by Dublin or Kerry down the line. Looking at the other quarter-finals Roscommon came through as expected but were pushed all the way by Armagh in an excellent game of football.
Kildare meanwhile have made a great turnaround in just a few weeks. Kildare were at rock bottom after the Carlow defeat, but it is still not surprising to see them make the Super 8s. I didn’t predict Kildare to beat Mayo last week but never the less they are still one of the top eight teams in the country.
Playing in Division 1 this year they had many narrow defeats. This obviously drained confidence, which led to the Carlow defeat.
Irrespective of what sport or level you are involved in it’s still underestimated the importance of winning and the effect on confidence. You see it many times in the Premier League where a team on a big losing streak, grind out a narrow win and build from there.
Cian O’Neill actually mentioned the Derry round one qualifier win as the catalyst to the positive turnaround.
Looking beyond the losses, Kildare must still have done certain things right to be so competitive in Division 1. This is in comparison to a Cork team that was well beaten in some Division 2 games.
Kildare are on a crest of a wave now with so much more to look forward to. The Super 8s will have to wait for Cork but an honest review is certainly needed in the meantime.
Many times you can be beaten because the team is not good enough, didn’t get the rub of the green or just had a close loss.
Rather than just accept this present Cork team wasn’t good enough to go any further, the first question management must ask was the preparation, commitment, standards good enough.
This can be multifaceted but weak links in the chain and you are going nowhere in elite sport.
There have been some positive results at academy level no doubt but still, there might not be a better time to review all aspects of development and performance from underage to senior inter-county football level in Cork.
Not to do so would prove negligent at best.
CONTACT: @paudiekissane or visit www.performance.ie