Cork hurling: Still major questions about how to set up Rebel forward line

With the season hanging by a thread, the make-up of the best front six for Cork is very much up for grabs
Cork hurling: Still major questions about how to set up Rebel forward line

Cork’s Darragh Fitzgibon and David Fitzgerald of Clare in action. Fitzgibbon started at 11 on Sunday but is a better bet attacking from midfield. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

WITH Cork’s chance of qualifying for the All-Ireland championship now effectively over after the loss to Clare, the question now is what next for the Rebels?

It was a bad week with the U20s surrendering their Munster and All-Ireland titles and the senior loss meaning they now have to beat Waterford at Walsh Park and Tipperary in Thurles to even be in with a chance of going through. It’s now over to the minors on Tuesday to give us any realistic chance of Munster or All-Ireland glory this season.

A few weeks ago Anthony Daly said he fancied Clare to be the third side to emerge from Munster after Limerick and Tipp and some thought he had lost it. But who’s smiling now? Well, the former Clare star and their hurling side are the ones with the big grins.


The bond between the squad and their supporters was seen some time after the final whistle when Brian Lohan came across to the Ryan Stand to greet fans, in a gesture similar to what Klopp does with Liverpool supporters.

But there was no banging on his chest just a simple acknowledgment to them of thanks as both he and they knew the significance of their win over the Rebels.

It’s going to take some time to figure out what next for Cork and where do we go from here?

While it’s very hard to pick out any positives from the loss there were a few and maybe we need to stick with them now going forward.

Mark Coleman showed that his best spot is number seven and let’s give Ciaran Joyce time to bed in at centre-back. With Tim O’Mahony on the other wing, we have the potential for a solid half-back line.

They are all still relatively young, as are Downey, O’Leary, and O’Donoghue behind them and all will be around for some time. Add in the unlucky Daire O’Leary, who missed out through injury, and we have options for the future.

Darragh Fitzgibbon will be the mainstay of midfield but the question is who will be alongside him is the big question?

Realistically Ger Millerick is a better option in defence than midfield and should Luke Meade or Tommy O’Connell get the slot beside Fitzgibbon?

Whatever about in the defence, up front that a lot of questions and debates about how to set up and what six should be starting. And finishing. 
That will take some time to figure out. 

We were still reliant on Patrick Horgan for scores as he hit 10 points on the day, with all others only adding 10 between them.

Alan Connolly who came on for Jack O’Connor has to start the next day against Waterford and it was his introduction that made a difference. His battling and physical qualities added a dimension that Cork were lacking and it was no great surprise that he raised a green flag in the second half.


Alan Cadogan, along with Meade, seems to have fallen down the pecking order, not even included in the squad, and when you look at his contribution off the bench last year on a few occasions you have to wonder how he's no longer deemed good enough to even make the match-day panel. 

Of course, the selectors see these players far more than any of us and will have their own reasons for not having them there. 

He is still a player in his prime though and one worth having around for some time yet, even as an impact sub.

So there’s a lot for Kieran Kingston and his management team to consider before their tie with Waterford in two weeks, which we now have to win to be in with any hopes of the miracle needed to get out of Munster and qualify for the All-Ireland series.

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