Tony Considine: Cork answered their critics in the best possible way

'Cork selectors made some hard calls and got their reward...'
Tony Considine: Cork answered their critics in the best possible way

Robert Downey of Cork in action against Jack Prendergast and Darragh Lyons. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

THEY all thought it was all over going into this weekend's matches: not yet!
Cork made sure of that with a great win against a very flat Waterford team. Their supporters did not show up in big numbers but those that did got great value. 

Cork looked different to any other game they have played this year. They got rid of the scientific hurling and they went back to the way they know best. They fought like tigers and even when they went four points down twice, they pulled it back. 

All the criticism that they have taken, especially from their own people, must have really got to them; they decided enough is enough.

They played with fire and spirit which they had not shown yet. You can't beat when you are standing on the trap door, you would do anything to get out of it. 

You could see it in their warm-up, their body language. You felt they were here to do business no matter what it was going to take. 

Mind you, they got a good bit of help from Waterford, a team that looked under pressure, and as I said on Friday, they are not good under pressure. I believe they have been slightly overrated and put a huge effort into winning the league. 

Cork won because leadership was shown all over the field, something lacking in the last few games. They also showed great leadership off the field. 

STICK

I know Kieran Kingston and his management team have taken a lot of stick, maybe some of it was right and Kieran himself would probably agree, but they made all the right calls and more importantly their players performed the way they should.

The intensity was there, the aggression was there, but above all, that killer instinct was there. That is what you need in championship. 

Management always have to create the right atmosphere for that to happen and fair play to Kieran for making that happen. Taking off Patrick Horgan, in my opinion, was the right thing to do. This does not make Patrick Horgan a poor player, but he was having a poor day at the office. Kieran did him a favour by withdrawing him, and in doing so, he made a huge statement. 

He got the perfect response from the rest of the team when he did that.

The Cork defence stood firm. Robert Downey, Niall O'Leary and Sean O'Donoghue, defended their goal very well, Downey, a colossus at full-back. 

Outside him, the man who will hold this position for some time, Ciarán Joyce, is improving with each game.

Damien Cahalane was very steady, but the man who really benefited from being moved to the wing was Mark Coleman. He delivered some great ball and got on the score sheet as well. That is more like the Coleman we know.

The real plus for Cork was the display from the two midfielders, Luke Meade and especially Darragh Fitzgibbon.

Darragh was back to his best in this game, in his best position. He played with great aggression and intensity all the way through and showed magnificent leadership in making and taking scores. 

Conor Lehane played very well taking over the free-taking duties, also his work-rate was top class, chasing back and putting tackles in.

The man that stood out for Cork, rolling back the years a bit, was Seamus Harnedy. he was brilliant from start to finish with great fire in his play and got some fantastic scores. He ran himself to a standstill for the cause.

I'm sure everyone is delighted to see him back to his best. 

Séamus Harnedy of Cork celebrates a late score at Walsh Park last Sunday. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Séamus Harnedy of Cork celebrates a late score at Walsh Park last Sunday. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Also, young Alan Connolly took his goals very well and was unlucky not to get a few more. A huge target man for Cork now, and very hard to handle. 

Robbie O'Flynn did an amount of work and of course, the two subs Shane Kingston and especially Tim O'Mahony playing full-forward. Is that his best position? I think it could be. 

Maybe anywhere in the forwards would suit him better. 

Cork are back in the ball game!

Outstanding game in Ennis. and an outstanding performance by the best hurler in the country at the moment Tony Kelly, a joy to watch, no matter where you are from. A draw kept Clare and Limerick happy, both now in the Munster final.

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