Can Cork footballers transform this league momentum into championship wins?

Rebels' good form has set them up nicely in Division 2 but competing with the best in the summer will be  another step up
Can Cork footballers transform this league momentum into championship wins?

Sean Powter on his way to scoring his side's third goal against Limerick. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

IF you were unaware of who was playing in Páirc Uí Chaoimh when you heard the scoreline 6-18, you would have assumed it was the Cork hurlers in action. Nope, it was the footballers in routing Limerick recently.

Cork GAA fans have become accustomed to lacklustre performances in recent seasons. Occasional wins have been followed by major disappointments. This time it feels a bit different.

The league can be difficult to read, with some teams choosing to concentrate on the championship campaign. Not for the Rebels. It's incredibly important for Cork to try and keep this run of form going into the knock-out stages of the year.

There has been constant negativity surrounding Cork footballers, both inside and outside the county since their drop down into Division 2 and even before.

John Clearly has had a positive impact since stepping into the breach when Keith Ricken had to opt out last spring and the return of a number of West Cork veterans has bulked up the squad.

It seems that momentum has been building since the team's win in the McGrath Cup against Kerry and they posted a 24-point haul and a triple-score demolition over Limerick before putting three goals past Clare, who they face in the Munster quarter-final.

How can these amazing results be turned into more consistency rather than random wins in the league and further into the season?

Returning players combined with young talent might be the answer Cork has been looking for these past two years.

Brian O’Driscoll has been repaying his manager's call-up since the beginning of the campaign, scoring an effortless 1-2 from play during the McGrath Cup final. The Carbery and Tadgh Mac Cárthaigh stalwart earned his chance of the back of a consistent club and divisional effort last year, and this has worked out in the Rebels' favour until he picked up an injury.

Cork also seems to be working their attacks from deep, using longer kick-outs to utilise their younger players.


All three of the full-back line Tommy Walsh, Maurice Shanley and Daniel O'Mahony regularly join Cork's counterattacks whenever the opportunity arises. They dove-tail with wing-backs Luke Fahy and Mattie Taylor giving the Rebels more outlets going forward in attack. Rory Maguire is the anchor at number six.

It's an interesting tactic to keep an eye on during this season. What is most important for this team's development though is consistency and the confidence and belief to win.

The energy and noise since their drop to the second tier of football have been incredibly negative and obviously affected how the players performed.

It almost feels like Cork are shaking these unfavourable comments off finally as they attempt to gain some strength going into the championship. The need for patience has been re-iterated by Cleary on many occasions, but what is admirable about this team is its commitment to that cause.

Cork manager John Cleary. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Cork manager John Cleary. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Cork wants to be back up to the top level but for this dream to become a reality they have to continue this run of form for a greater period of time than what they have done in prior seasons.

Cleary believes the foundation are there for it to happen, but the Cork boss predicts that it could take years to get the panel on an even keel with the best in terms of strength and conditioning, but there have been positives to take away from this season so far.

Gaining this winning energy going into the championship will only be a positive step in the right direction for Cork who could make a huge splash in this year's competition.

New call-ups and returning players have to take this opportunity with two hands and regardless of the comments online, they have to remain unified.

It can be difficult to know where a team stands at this stage of the year, but for Cork, it feels like finally they are rounding this corner of losses and are on the up.

The Rebel footballers should use these wins as a stepping stone for the more competitive matches that will be coming down the road in the future.

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