Anthony Nash: Cork hurlers need to return to their 'go-forward' style 

'Cork should play Patrick Horgan at 11 and Tim O'Mahony in midfield,' explains the All-Star Rebel keeper
Anthony Nash: Cork hurlers need to return to their 'go-forward' style 

Former Cork hurler Anthony Nash at the EirGrid Timing Sponsorship Launch. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

FORMER Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash believes that Patrick Horgan should play at centre-forward with Tim O’Mahony at midfield as the Rebels seek to keep their season alive this weekend.

Cork travel to Walsh Park to face Waterford in their third Munster SHC game on Sunday (2pm), with nothing less than a win enough to keep them in contention. After losses to Limerick and Clare, two-time All-Star winner Nash feels that a shake-up is required.

“I’d play Hoggy at 11 and bring Tim O’Mahony into midfield,” Nash said the launch of the seventh year of Eirgrid’s timing sponsorship with the GAA.

“I’m under the assumption that Ger Millerick is out so I’d put [Robert] Downey out on the wing and either have Dáire O’Leary or Damien Cahalane on Michael Kiely and I’d put Tim O’Mahony into midfield with Darragh Fitzgibbon. They have to do something different, create a bit of excitement in that dressing room again.

“With Glen Rovers, he [Horgan] pulls the strings from centre-forward. Let off this whole GPS, basing it on movement. At the end of the day, when you have hands like his, you need to get him on the ball. I think centre-forward would free him up a bit and he’d enjoy it more himself because he’s not getting much ball inside with this game-plan. The last day against Clare, again I thought he was very good. He looked dangerous. Just try it, give it a go.”

Having responded well to last year’s All-Ireland loss by winning their first four Allianz Hurling League games this year, Nash viewed Cork as having pushed on and he has been surprised at how their recent fortunes have gone.

“I thought good strides had been made last year,” he said.

“I thought they had come up with a game-plan that was putting fear into the opposition really with the pace and the threat going forward. At the start of the year, I would have predicted Waterford, Limerick and Cork to come out of the group. I just thought with the injuries and departures in Tipperary and the injuries in Clare.

“The position they’re in isn’t obviously good and a very tough fixture this weekend, going down to Walsh Park against a team that need a win as well. We’d be hopeful, that’s the way to put it. But surprised especially after last year. 

I know the All-Ireland final went the way it went but they kicked on in the league, which was great, up to the final again so that was the surprising thing for me. 

"I thought the learnings would have come from the Waterford league final but unfortunately in the two championship matches so far, it hasn’t gone that way.”

Anthony Nash of Cork celebrates following the 2018 Munster SHC final win over Clare in Thurles. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Anthony Nash of Cork celebrates following the 2018 Munster SHC final win over Clare in Thurles. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

“From my own opinion, I just think that they’re a great bunch of lads that are getting a hard time of it now, à la us in 2016, when we had the same year and couldn’t get going and eventually losing to Wexford.

“They’re a good bunch of lads. I’d hope there would be a kick in them. That Tipperary performance [against Limerick] should give Cork people hope as well because Tipperary really in fairness to them, a team I’d have written off, really showed how good they were and put a lot of heart into it.

LATERAL

“The difference for me is I think there’s a tiny bit too much lateral play, whereas it was go-forward play last year. I thought last year you’d get the ball, give a 20/30-yard pass and go again and try and create an overlap. This year, it’s, ‘I’ll handpass it sideways and we’ll give it backwards,’ and you’re allowing oppositions like Waterford and Limerick to double up and tackle you. 

I’d like to see more of that go-forward play that they brought last year and I’d like to see one or two changes in the team on Sunday that might hopefully help it.”

Ultimately, Nash expects a strong response from Cork.
“I think there will,” he said, “but it’s not like it’s an easy task.

“You’re going down to a Liam Cahill team who have had three weeks to prepare for you, who have had a great year. I know they’ll be disappointed to have lost to Limerick but even throughout that performance they showed how good they are and they showed how good a manager he is.

“You’re going down to a cauldron to fight for your life so it’s not going to be an easy day out but I definitely think you’re going to see a kick from the lads.”

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