TWO charges against Cork hurlers in recent times have been goals scored, or lack of them, and the need for more of an impact from players brought on as substitutes.
In last year’s league, the green-flag issue was addressed somewhat with 11 goals in five games, though the championship yielded just three in three. However, yesterday’s win over Waterford at Páirc Uí Chaoimh was a major goalscoring positive as the five-goal tally eclipsed Cork’s five-game totals for the leagues of 2017, 2018 and 2019.
As selector Diarmuid O’Sullivan was at pains to point out, it was only one game and one win, but nevertheless it was an encouraging sign.
“Any day you score five goals, you always have a chance of winning the game,” he said.
“Goal creation is something that we have been working on also, but again, first day out, the cobwebs are out, let’s move on to next Saturday night and our next challenge.
“They were handed out the programmes at the start of December and they’ve worked really diligently and come back in good shape. When they’ve done that, it allows us to get down to the important part, which is the hurling side and the tactical side of it.”
The three goals that ensured Cork would run out victorious were scored by subs – one by Shane Kingston with two from Alan Connolly – and that was another pleasing factor.
“We refreshed our panel and we felt that it was important to bring in younger guys can give us a lot going forward – not just today or tomorrow but over the next number of years.
“A couple of lads came in and did really well.”
And ultimately, that is what will determine team-selection.
“There are no guarantees or no automatics in this squad,” O’Sullivan said.
“That has been set out and every guy knows where he stands. If you’re not fit, you have to pass the fit-to-play protocol over the next week and if you’re doing well enough in training, you’ll get a game.
“It’s as simple as that, we picked today’s team on form in training and we’re going to keep that mantra.”