Paudie Palmer: Cork footballers now deserve support in the qualifiers

There will be no easy draw in the next round but after pushing Kerry hard for 50 minutes, Cork have the fans onside
Paudie Palmer: Cork footballers now deserve support in the qualifiers

A big crowd in Páirc Uí Rinn watch Paudie Clifford of Kerry in action against Mattie Taylor. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

IN last week’s column, we mentioned some new terms that have entered the latest GAA collection of same, one being the two-point hammering.

This was in reference to the defeat suffered by the Cork senior hurlers against Clare.

On leaving Páirc Uí Rinn on departing Saturday night, I wondered about another entry, a 12-point defeat that had a feeling of victory attached to it. Confusion reigns supreme!

One of the inbuilt failings that attach to some of us who overvalue our role in society, is to reach for the critical quill at every possible opportunity. Cursing the darkness rather than lighting a candle.

So, well done to the many people from both Cork and Munster GAA who stepped up to the plate and ensured that Christy’s field was in top order for the latest version of the southern football derby.

To the on-field activity, and with the benefit of some reflection time, how does one present the happenings to the public?

Endeavouring to get the balance right between reality and the sense of euphoria if you wish, that enveloped us as we departed the new football home is a challenge.

We will head to our bookie brothers for their input, they were offering 50/1 on for Kerry to emerge victorious. Never in the history of this pairing have such odds presented.

Prior to throw-in, I meet Michael Crowley one of the Templenoe neighbours and an individual who made a major contribution to that club. His son Gavin is on the Kerry panel.

After the usual exchange of whatever you are having yourself, he looked across the pitch to where the Cork players were conducting their pre-match routine and said "they haven’t a chance, have they, which is a pity.”

My God, what an indictment on the position of Cork football. That mentioned, of course, we acknowledge Saturday night’s efforts.

Cork set up defensively with Sean Powter playing a key role. To prevent Kerry raising green and to be within a point with 20 minutes remaining has to be commended and was far ahead of the expectations of so many.

Rather than annoying you with the statistic of Kerry outscoring their hosts 0-12 to 0-1 in the final 20 minutes or so, let us look ahead at what the next day out may entail.

When the draw for the qualifiers is made in not too distant future, Cork will almost certainly be in the company of Mayo, Tyrone, Armagh, Clare, Meath, Louth and Monaghan-Derry.

The only set-up change would occur if Tipperary or Westmeath win their provincial semis this weekend against Limerick and Kildare respectively. In the event of one or both of them causing an upset, they will play a preliminary qualifier against one of the above listed excluding Cork, and Monaghan-Derry.

Would you not agree the only gimme would be drawing Louth at home!

So in reality, it would be a big gain if Cork could win their qualifier and certainly would be a boost for their big ball promoters.

Last week, a few comments by Kilcoo’s Eugene Branagan at a function to honour him as club player of 2022, caused some standing up and taking notice.

He more or less implied that he had no desire to play for Down for a few reasons but principally because there were a number of the present Down squad who didn’t possess the winning mentality required.

By the way, this boyo has never played for his county. I accept he is entitled to his opinion opinions but to make them known at a public forum and belittle club players who are members of the current county set-up is unforgivable.

Yes, there are probably a few Cork players who may not want to play for this present Cork team but they have don’t come out and knocked those that do.

Ian Maguire of Cork in action against David Moran of Kerry. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Ian Maguire of Cork in action against David Moran of Kerry. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

A bit of humility and awareness would be no harm. If Kilcoo suffer a championship loss in the coming season, we won’t be acquiring the tissues.

SUPPORT

Whenever a discussion arises as to why more Cork people do not support the football team, the chicken and egg comparison can come in handy.

Is it up to the footballers to go on a winning run before the supporters buy in? Or would the realisation ever occur, that the said supporters can play a part?

Should we say well done to the smiling Roy Keane who declared that his red colour of choice was the one worn by the Páirc Uí Rinn brigade rather than the one worn by the side that went down in a penalty shootout to Toulouse at the Aviva.

Make no mistake, the Cork team and management were really appreciative of those who showed at the Boreenmanna Road pitch on Saturday evening.

Hopefully, for their qualifier game on the Bank Holiday weekend, more Cork people will come out and support a team that will be carrying the red of their own county.

A basic demand for the trip to Walsh Park on Sunday with throw-in at 2pm, is that they play with a massive amount of pride and no little aggression. The home team will be the favourites but not 50/1 on and they will also be under pressure to perform in front of their supporting crew.

It is imperative that the laying in will begin at the first whistle and the scenario of slipping 10 points behind after 25 minutes doesn’t present. The consequence of another capitulation would be seriously damaging for the Cork GAA brand!!

Contact: paudie.palmer@hotmail.com

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