Cork's bench press can make a difference against Clare in Ennis

Rebels have shown heart but also a depth of options to dig out results in league and championship this season
Cork's bench press can make a difference against Clare in Ennis

Cork's Brian Hayes and Diarmuid Ryan of Clare. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

FOR the fourth time this year, Cork came back from being five or more points down to get a result in a game.

Their latest rescue mission was against Tipperary in the Munster Senior Hurling Championship at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, and this rescued a point after the Premier County went into a 1-21 to 2-12 lead with just 10 minutes left to play.

Cork fought back with goals for Darragh Fitzgibbon and Brian Hayes, and Shane Kingston made sure it was a draw by cancelling out a late point from Séamus Callanan.

Pat Ryan and his players were always going to concede scores when taking on Tipperary, the Cork manager even admitted it when speaking to Red FM about forward Jake Morris, who hit 5-06 in the league.

“I don’t think you’re going to nullify him too much to be honest,” he said. “I think it is about keeping him as quiet as you can and he is going to get scores. They have brilliant players. Our job is trying to get more scores than them and try and make it as hard as possible for them.” 

Morris is just one player in a team that also contains Gearoid O’Connor and Jason Forde, two hurlers that scored 2-81 between them during the league.

The same goes for Limerick, the reigning All-Ireland champions that need no introduction with their whole starting 15 capable of scoring.

This is just another comeback by this Cork team. They started the year by overcoming an eight-point deficit with 18 minutes left to play against Tipperary in the final of the Munster Senior Hurling. 

That was followed up by an eight-point comeback on the opening night of the league season when Limerick came to town. Wexford also went into an early six-point lead at Páirc Uí Chaoimh and Cork still managed to beat them.


What’s the one theme running through each of these games? The subs brought on.

Brian Hayes replaced Seamus Harnedy in the final minute of normal time against Tipperary and one of his first touches of the ball made sure it hit the back of the net. 

Shane Kingston came off the bench against Limerick last February and held his nerve to hit the winning score in injury time. 

Cormac Beausang took the place of Ethan Twomey in the 66th minute when Cork faced Wexford and knocked in the game-winning goal.

Having players who can score off the bench is one thing, but having a collection that can hit clutch scores is different. 

It has shown to be the decisive factor for Cork in 2023, and it will be needed now when they travel to Clare and Limerick for the final two rounds of the Munster championship.

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