Tony Considine: Cork's forwards have to work harder or their season will be over

Rebels have no shortage of classy ball-players but the lack of effort up front is putting updue pressure on the defence
Tony Considine: Cork's forwards have to work harder or their season will be over

William O'Donoghue of Limerick in action against Conor Lehane and Seamus Harnedy of Cork. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

AFTER last weekend's games the talk now is not about who is going to win the Munster championship, it's about which two teams will come out of the province with Limerick. 

The result in Thurles really put the cat amongst the pigeons, as a lot of people did not expect Clare to win. Tipperary were fairly confident after the good performance they gave against Waterford. 

Clare did not seem to take any notice and definitely weren't affected by it as they tore into Tipp. 

They really put this game to bed early showing great intensity but Tipp were very flat on the day and not really up for it. It is always good to play well on your first day out but it is also good to win. It builds confidence, especially important with a lot of the young players that Brian Lohan has introduced to this Clare team. 

Some of their experienced players really showed the way though.

The leadership from John Conlan and David McInerney lifted the whole team, as well as the Clare supporters, and they got fantastic backup from guys like Ryan Taylor, Rory Hayes and up front Peter Duggan and Shane O'Donnell, supported by Robin Mounsey and especially Ian Galvin. 

Although Tony Kelly had one of his quieter games Clare will need him firing against Cork. His general play needs to improve. I know he was carrying an injury, and still is. 

Clare's Tony Kelly celebrates scoring a penalty last weekend. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane
Clare's Tony Kelly celebrates scoring a penalty last weekend. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

I believe Clare have a few more injuries after last Sunday, namely Rory Hayes and Shane O'Donnell, and they can't afford to be without them.

They have a huge task ahead of them but their work-rate was very good last Sunday and their use of the ball very intelligent. Their defending was excellent but dipped in the second half. 

Had Tipp been more accurate, Clare might have been in trouble. They cannot afford to be like that this time as Cork will take full advantage.

Cork have been looking on for the last couple of weeks and now is the time to deliver. Coming out of Páirc Uí Chaoimh after the Limerick defeat, a lot of Cork supporters who had doubts before the game were really convinced that this team is simply not good enough. 

It is hard to put your finger on that performance but I believe the damage was done long before that game, carrying over from last year's All-Ireland final. 

DAMAGE

Cork were not ready for that final and sometimes when you are not ready you are better off not to be in it; it can do serious damage when you suffer a big defeat on the biggest hurling day of the year. It takes a long time to get over that as it can leave a lot of scars, and healing can be very slow.

This Sunday is huge. They need not alone to perform but to win. They have to face Waterford in a couple of weeks in Walsh Park and that is not an easy task. 

What team will Cork start? Will they go with the same defence or will they make changes?

Damien Cahalane of Cork reacts during the Limerick loss at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Damien Cahalane of Cork reacts during the Limerick loss at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

They are getting enough advice from a lot of people so I might as well throw in my two pence worth in. You can have all the tactics and all the plans but the one thing you have got to be able to do as a defender is to tackle, and tackle hard with no fouling. You must be adept in the basic art of defending: hooking and blocking and giving no clean possession to your attacker. 

Cork have a lot of ball players all over the field but they have got to work a lot harder. The Cork attack can nearly always score enough but at times their work-rate is not good enough, ball after ball coming out too easy, putting a lot of pressure on their defence. 

The Limerick defenders to got 11 points the last day, to me that's lazy. So Patrick Horgan and company will have to work a lot harder without the ball, not giving up the chase. 

Cork have a great record against Clare in the championship. 

Not since 2013 when Clare came out the winners in the All-Ireland final, have Clare recorded a big championship win over Cork. In 2019 they beat them in Ennis but were eliminated anyway.

Hard to call this game.

Were Clare really that good against Tipp? Were Cork really that bad against Limerick?

It's a bit of both I think. Could we have the first draw?

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