Cork hurlers need an injection of youth but Robbie O'Flynn's injury is a huge concern

Derek Daly on the implications of the Erin's Own flyer's loss for the Rebels
Cork hurlers need an injection of youth but Robbie O'Flynn's injury is a huge concern

Robbie O'Flynn hit a brilliant goal before going off injured. Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

SOMETIMES it is hard not to think that ‘The Jinx’ nickname you were given by a friend in your teenage years was not bang on the money.

For those unfamiliar with the film A Bronx Tale there is one scene where the main character is at a racetrack with a bunch of gangsters from his neighbourhood where they have all backed the same horse, named Kryptonite. 

The horse is winning the race, looking the likely winner, when they notice a man shouting loudly for the same horse. 

This man is named Mush and known to everyone as ‘The Jinx’. 

Every one of them, bar the main character, upon seeing that they have backed the same horse as ‘The Jinx’ tear up their betting dockets and walk away in disgust, even though it is still leading the race, with the lead gangster character announcing: “He can’t win, the Mush bet Kryptonite”. 

The main character sticks it out, only for the inevitable scene of Kryptonite being pipped on the line.

Being a jinx is a gift. 

An ability to stop a great run of tips in its tracks by just hearing of it, or being able to turn a Gold Cup contender into a Grade 3 handicapper, or a team full of All-Ireland winners into junior hurlers just by having a few quid on them.

Being one, you would think I would know better than to tempt faith, but on Saturday night, while watching Cork versus Limerick in the NHL opener at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, I took it too far.

Early in the first half, I expressed the opinion to the person alongside me that: ”Robbie O’Flynn is the one Cork forward guaranteed to start come the Championship."

Now, we can all probably name a few more Cork forwards who will start against Waterford on April 30th, but the point is that almost everyone else is interchangeable. 

Cork are not lacking in numbers in terms of quality forwards, and each have their pros and cons, but O’Flynn was probably the one player that you could point to as a banker when it came to being handed a jersey from numbers 10 to 15.


If I had left it there then it might have been alright, but I had to push it, didn’t I, as I later texted a Limerick friend, commenting on O’Flynn’s performance up to that juncture: “His pace is frightening. Playing him closer to goal could be huge. He has Hurler of the Year potential."

You can almost count from 10, from that message being sent, to the moment, down to one, when the Erin’s Own flyer hit the deck in obvious distress. 

Cork’s Robbie O'Flynn goes off injured against Limerick. Picture: INPHO/Evan Treacy
Cork’s Robbie O'Flynn goes off injured against Limerick. Picture: INPHO/Evan Treacy

You instantly knew that he was in trouble. Bangs and knocks may be a part of the game, but in times like that the game takes a back seat and the welfare of the individual becomes paramount. 

As already stated, Pat Ryan has a long list of attackers to choose from. 

The squad size is certainly not an issue, but quite simply, there are some players that he cannot do without. 

O’Flynn is one of those, with Mark Coleman being another. As the Blarney man is already out until later in the championship Cork are now potentially down a few of their leading players for the foreseeable future.

Of course, putting the positive hat on for a brief moment, injuries to key players mean that Cork’s emerging young players get more game time.  Some may sink, but some will certainly swim and become integral parts of the Cork team going forward. 

In theory, this means that when the likes of Coleman and O’Flynn do return that Cork should be in a much stronger position in terms of squad health.

If absent for a considerable spell O’Flynn will be a huge loss though.  There is no one really available with a full set of matching attributes. 

Jack O’Connor might have similar blistering pace, but he wouldn’t have O’Flynn’s ball-winning ability, whereas someone like Sean Twomey might be able to win ball like the Erin’s Own man but not have the speed or scoring power to match. 

In saying that, two or three players will now get a chance to step up in the coming weeks and months and prove their worth.

Now, I’m off to back Limerick in the hurling and Kerry in the football.

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