Paudie Palmer: There's no debate in Cork, club players need a split-season format

'Anybody who thinks five months uninterrupted for club championship is in excess of what is required is not in any way concerned about the club player'
Paudie Palmer: There's no debate in Cork, club players need a split-season format

Tipperary's Patrick Maher with Ciaran Joyce of Cork in action last weekend. Picture: INPHO/Evan Treacy

BRONZE might very well be the colour of choice when it comes to discussing a destination for the 2022 edition of Liam McCarthy.

In the aftermath of the red knee bending against both Limerick and Clare which resulted in the famed fans deserting at rates not recorded previously, the spectre of facing Kerry in a play-off was viewed as a new reality. The bronze medal position looked well beyond the capability of this cohort of both players and management.

Has it changed and changed utterly again?

At times it appears that the only constant in sport is change.

On Sunday with 76 minutes gone at the Etihad, Pep Guardiola was been readied for the filleting. In a recent Champions League game, his team of millionaires were leading another team of wealthy boyos in injury-time and the blue dream was very much alive.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Two goals in two minutes, the show was over and all of a sudden Pep didn’t have whatever you need to have to win the ultimate prize. Now as he watched in from the sideline awaiting, the tweet, to inform him, that Liverpool had scored a lead goal, he had to be working out a strategy on how best to hand back the bainisteoir bib. 

Five minutes and three goals later, Pep had what it takes and Liverpool’s quadruple dreams were no more.

In Thurles, when Tipp were awarded a penalty, they lead 1-4 to 0-3, in the next 15 minutes, Cork had outscored their opponents 2-9 to 0-3. Cork’s coaching staff had what it takes!

Interesting when Noel McGrath’s penalty effort came off the post, the first Cork player at the scene was Luke Meade, his collection and hand-pass set in motion the move that lead to Robbie O’Flynn flicking off to the cool Blackrock goalscoring machine Alan Connolly.

For the moment at least, it appears that the inclusion of the Newcestown midfielder has the effect of raising the performances of others around him. Let us hope that it continues.

When Conor Lehane was deemed surplus to 2021 requirements, the protest marches were poorly attended.

He adapted to life as a club player in a most commendable fashion; sometime in the future, we may get the identity of the individual who made the welcome back call. It certainly was a call worth making. 

In Thurles, his display was a beautiful mix of flag-raising and flag-raising prevention.

Conor Lehane was unmarkable against Tipp. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Conor Lehane was unmarkable against Tipp. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Maybe, down the line against Limerick, Mark Coleman might experience difficulties but right now the execution of his skill set is just a joy to watch.

I've a lack of understanding of what a modern hurling centre-back is meant to be. The pundits tell us Cork are deficit in this area. 

So could somebody drop me a line as what else Ciarán Joyce needs to brush up on before he can graduate as an authentic number 6?

When Darragh Fitzgibbon took off for Cork’s second goal, he must have been, somewhat disappointed that the pitch wasn’t another couple hundred metres longer given the lack of Tipp company. He is some operator!

Further evidence of my lack of deep knowledge came when Patrick Horgan was taken off but I wondered what Seamus Harnedy had done to avoid been afforded a break. Almost immediately, he cut loose knocking over three points in the process. Of course, the unseen work catches a lot of us offside.

So now, what is the writing on the stars telling us?

On Saturday, June 11, Cork will play either Antrim of Kerry in Belfast or in Tralee.

A victory here, and I would suggest Kilkenny will provide the opposition. The summer journey can continue.

SPLIT-SEASON

After a few serious attempts to derail the split-season were made at the start of this year’s championship, I assumed, that these anti-club team personnel would park the issue. How wrong I was. The panel on duty for the afternoon edition of The Sunday Game were out in force. Donal Óg Cusack, from a county that requires every minute of the allocated five months for club activity due to its dual nature, suggested the populist view must be challenged.

Let’s us get it straight you are either for or against the split season and anybody who thinks that five months uninterrupted for club championship activity is in excess of what is required is not in any way concerned about the club player. There is no room for speaking out of both sides of the mouth on this one.

My wish for you dear readers is that we will not have to mention this again.

LUCK OF THE DRAW

Changing codes, and we begin when an expression of thanks to the lord of GAA draws.

When he sat down to make the four pairings for the first round of All-Ireland football qualifiers, he presented with the best possible option. Louth at home. Not for one moment, am I suggesting, that a Cork victory is guaranteed... far from it.

Cork’s championship history has more than its fair share of defeats to perceived weaker opposition.

In reality, any other pairing would be at the challenging end of the scale. Underestimating the Wee County would be a certain recipe for disaster.

At the recent Cork-Kerry game in Páirc Uí Rinn, the Cork supporters present contributed enormously to the occasion, if the same numbers are present again on Saturday week, they could be even more valuable.

All of a sudden June has a pleasant red feel to it.

  • Contact: paudie.palmer@hotmail.com Twitter: @paudiep

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