Donal Óg Cusack and RTE panel full of praise for Conor Lehane and Cork hurlers

All three of RTÉ’s pundits agreed that Lehane’s performance was central to Cork’s latest Munster SHC win
Donal Óg Cusack and RTE panel full of praise for Conor Lehane and Cork hurlers

Séamus Harnedy of Cork celebrates his side's first goal, scored by Alan Connolly. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

CORK cantered to victory over Tipperary in Sunday’s Munster SHC clash at Semple Stadium and it drew deserved praise from RTÉ’s TV panel.

Sunday’s panel consisting of Joanne Cantwell, Liam Sheedy, Anthony Daly and Donal Óg Cusack were unanimous in their praise of a commanding Cork display that delivered a 3-30 to 1-24 hammering of a hapless Tipp. 

Cork’s performance more so than the final score impressed Donal Óg Cusack.

“It was a great performance from Cork, they did everything that was asked of them,” Cusack commented.

“We saw at the start how Tipperary came out of the blocks, really fast. Cork settled into their game. 

"Right throughout the team, Niall O’Leary, Sean O’Donoghue were all very good. Centre-back, Ciarán Joyce, again was good. We saw how Mark Coleman is growing into his role even more by the day.

“Liam (Sheedy) pointed out that importance of Darragh Fitzgibbon before the game. 

Then the forwards, obviously, Conor Lehane was outstanding but in addition to that, talking about the likes of Jack O’Connor and Shane Barrett looked to have more of a spring in his step. So, all credit to Cork.” 

All three of RTÉ’s pundits agreed that Conor Lehane’s performance was central to Cork’s latest Munster SHC win.

“When this match was a match, there was only one player who stood up and that was Conor Lehane,” Liam Sheedy said.

Cork’s Ciarán Joyce battles Noel McGrath of Tipperary. Picture: INPHO/Evan Treacy
Cork’s Ciarán Joyce battles Noel McGrath of Tipperary. Picture: INPHO/Evan Treacy

“He stood head and shoulders above everybody else out on the pitch. In fairness to Conor Lehane, this is a guy that walked away last year and it looked like, would we see him in a Cork jersey again? 

"You would have to say fair play to Kieran Kingston because sometimes when a guy goes you can say ‘leave him out there’.

“Instead, Cork got him back in and some of the scores he got in that first half, top-notch, left or right, a fantastic striker. 

"He was doing it for Midleton and took them to a Cork county championship.

“It was trademark Conor Lehane,” Anthony Daly added.

“I find it hard to believe that Tipperary weren’t tighter on him. Look at the space that they afforded him for some of his scores. 

"This is Conor Lehane we are talking about here. He would have put some of those scores over in his sleep!

"He was perpetual motion Joanne. At the start of the second half, he was on his own 21-yard line setting up a point and then back to pick up a puck out. 

"That’s huge because his confidence will grow from today’s performance.” 

Next up for Cork is a trip to the Joe McDonagh Cup winners, either Kerry or Antrim.

 Joanne Cantwell put it to the panel that neither opponent will be straightforward for Cork despite their big win over Tipperary.

“With all due respect, it is a big ask for a Joe McDonagh Cup winner to face a third-placed provincial team but those games will be at home (for the Joe McDonagh Cup winners),” Liam Sheedy opined.

Cork’s Conor Lehane with Michael Breen of Tipperary. Picture: INPHO/Evan Treacy
Cork’s Conor Lehane with Michael Breen of Tipperary. Picture: INPHO/Evan Treacy

“If Antrim get somebody at Corrigan Park, it has proven to be a real fortress in the past. Clare and others have gone up there and struggled to win. 

That aspect of it, if Antrim were to win the Joe McDonagh, Cork might have to travel up there and play them.

“It is a once-off shot for a Joe McDonagh Cup team. I think that is a good thing. 

"Both teams, for Wexford and Cork, to get to where they are at after today, is really huge for them.” 

Interesting days ahead then for a Cork team rejuvenated over the past fortnight in the Munster SHC.

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