Cork footballers can move forward knowing fans are behind them again

John Cleary and his selectors have a solid base now to build in the qualifiers and beyond
Cork footballers can move forward knowing fans are behind them again

David Clifford of Kerry runs out past the Cork and Kerry Primary Games players. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

ASK any coach or manager and they will tell you they don’t have much if any, interest in moral victories.

One look at the faces of the Cork selectors who were in the stand at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday night as they made their way back across the pitch would back that statement up.

They were disappointed to lose as they had come with every intention of trying to win the game, but well aware they were taking on probably the best side in the country at the moment.

Kerry have stars in every line and in the blink of an eye, they can turn defence into attack, and before you know it a green or white flag is being raised in their favour. In Graham and Tom O’Sullivan, they have two attack-minded corner-backs, who aren’t bad at their primary function either.

But what you can take from a defeat are positives, in both individual displays and the team’s overall efforts.

And in that regard when they sit down and look at the game there will be plenty to be positive about. For fifty-odd minutes Cork were very much in this tie and Kerry would have been concerned.

But in their end, their class told, as did their bench, with the likes of David Moran and Paul Geaney making a difference when they came on.

No doubt the Kingdom will have been happy with the workout ahead of the Munster final and then the All-Ireland series afterward.

Cork too can take a lot as they head into the qualifiers and if they can produce that form over 70 minutes then they will be a match for plenty of sides.

Cork's Kevin O’Donovan, Ian Maguire, Sean Powter and Rory Maguire tackle Diarmuid O’Connor of Kerry. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
Cork's Kevin O’Donovan, Ian Maguire, Sean Powter and Rory Maguire tackle Diarmuid O’Connor of Kerry. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

He may not be captain anymore but mention must be made of Ian Maguire for his performance. 

It was obvious he was far from fully fit but he got on with it and battled from start to finish in the middle of the park as he always does. Hopefully, he will have recovered before they take to the pitch again in a few weeks.

The return of Sean Powter was another plus for the Rebels and he showed how they missed his influence around the pitch in the league.

Picked at centre-forward he played as a sweeper and make a number of telling interceptions and tackles and he can be happy with his contribution before he was taken off.

His clubmate Kevin Flahive was another to impress and he kept David Clifford quiet, not an easy thing to do. Clifford got just one point from play and Flahive ensured he had little influence on proceedings. The worry for Cork was seeing Flahive go off injured late on, with what looked like a serious leg injury. No doubt they will be hoping he returns sooner rather than later, but it didn’t look good.

At the other end of the pitch, Steven Sherlock and Cathail O’Mahony are getting better and better with every outing and will cause plenty of defences problems, not just this year but for a few years to come.

So while Cork will be disappointed at the loss they can take lots of positives from it and hopefully will build on that for the qualifiers.


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