Paudie Palmer: Tide is turning for Cork hurling but footballers have some distance to go

'Rebel schools need to be competitive in the Corn Uí Mhuirí to produce better young players'
Paudie Palmer: Tide is turning for Cork hurling but footballers have some distance to go

Luke Meade celebrates the Cork hurlers' win over Clare last weekend. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

THE column finds itself at Dichotomous Junction in relation to deciding what you would like on this week’s menu.

Do we go with last Saturday’s uplifting experience or organise counselling to deal with the fallout from Sunday’s debacle at Fitzgerald Stadium?

If memory serves me correctly, we mentioned last week, that the Cork hurlers must and should win, the footballers can’t and won’t. We will come back to the hurlers but the performance in Killarney can’t be air-brushed completely.

In short, it provided evidence of where Cork football exists in the greater scheme. Struggling to maintain the number two spot in Munster and struggling to avoid the drop to Division 3 of the NFL.

Ruairí Deane of Cork is shown the red card by referee Barry Cassidy. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Ruairí Deane of Cork is shown the red card by referee Barry Cassidy. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

To prevent a tent-folding mindset, the recent underage success has to be viewed as a positive. However much more must be done even in that regard. 

I'm not sure as to when the educational institutions will be allowed to engage in extracurricular activities again, but when they do, it would be more than desirable for a few Cork schools to be considered as serious Corn Uí Mhuirí contenders.

Presently, they are not. At the risk of annoying more than the normal quota, I would nearly welcome some poaching to achieve that objective.

I promise to revisit that statement again when the thought process isn’t dominated by the biggest hammering in the history of this age-old derby.

Prior to leaving the ashes in Killarney a word about the changing of the goalkeeper at half time and role of the national broadcaster! As the Cork team re-emerged with Mark White as keeper, the cameras cut to where Mary and Michéal Martin were seated.

The expression on the Taoiseach’s face as he looked down towards the Cork goal was that of a father who was about to say to his wife: 'Where is our fella?'

Well, I just hope that he wasn’t depending on the well-dressed Sunday Game analysts for an answer. It was suggested the change was a tactical one in that Mark White had a booming kick-out.

I thought to myself, if this is true, it was time for an immediate dispatch of a collective P45 for the Cork management team. In reality, the sight of an ice pack on the shoulder of the Nemo goalkeeper provided a logical explanation.

HURLING HEROICS

What of last Saturday?

To this simple mind at least, it was top class. For the past while, a number were of the view that Ballinhassig’s Patrick Collins deserved a fitting for the number one shirt.

Eventually, 2021 was deemed his year and right up to the league game against Limerick, everything was going according to plan.

Now that we are conditioned to the view that the key role of the goalkeeper has been altered from saving to restarting, by all accounts most goalies at this level are capable of making the odd save here and there, really.

No point denying it, the two games against Limerick did cause a few to harbour some doubts. My God on Saturday last though, the young man was awesome.

Were it not for him, Kieran Kingston might very well be borrowing from Ronan McCarthy in informing us that the three-partner discussion concerning the future management of Cork would be taking place!

Almost three ago when Limerick were on their way to winning their first All-Ireland since 1973, they meet Cork in the semi-final and in cardiac time with the sides level, Seamus Harnedy was poised to win it, only for an awesome save from Nicky Quaid.

Last Saturday’s save by the Cork custodian from Tony Kelly, which was in the H1 category can now take its place in iconic annals. Of course, it wasn’t the only save that he made during this entertaining event. 

I only hope you don’t take the so-called art of punditry too seriously. Let me provide an example or two.

With five minutes remaining in the Cork-Clare game and Cork two ahead, Seamus Harnedy was on his way towards the Clare goal and instead of putting over the bar, he laid it off to Shane Barrett who buried it.

The punditry people viewed it as the Eureka moment that illustrated how Cork are goal-getters. Now for one moment, and in your own words, what would they have told us if the young Blarney man had missed it.

Correct in one, the St Ita’s veteran should have put it over the bar! 

Another bit of homework, what would the great pundits say about a defender and a defensive setup that would prevent David Clifford raising even one white flag from play?

What about Jack O’Connor, I'm not sure all the sprinters out in Tokyo, have faster times.

His goal was a beauty, seemingly he scored a replica for his club against Douglas in last year's championship.

Last week, I encountered a gentleman, whose expertise on all issues doesn’t seem to be a burden to him not sure about it being a burden on those who have to listen.

When it came to the composition of the Cork hurling team, his views on Luke Meade was framed by the following question:  'But is he a senior hurler?'

Whatever he is, the Newcestown man is a vital part of this Cork team, the embodiment of class, craft and graft.

Looking forward to the Dublin game, it’s cut and paste time. Cork must and should win.

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