James Crombie/INPHO Brian Cuthbert: Sligo game is 'Cork's All-Ireland final'.
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Cork chief Cuthbert vows to review dual player situation at end of the season

The football boss is preparing for a do-or-die clash with Sligo on Saturday night.

CORK FOOTBALL BOSS Brian Cuthbert is hoping the Rebels’ season doesn’t end in defeat to Sligo this weekend. But he’s promised to review the much-discussed role of dual players within his panel when the Munster side’s summer does draw to a close.

Last time out, Cork were humbled by archrivals Kerry in a one-sided provincial decider at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

The preparations for that game were disrupted by dual stars like Aidan Walsh, Damien Cahalane and Eoin Cadogan focusing on the hurlers’ replay with Waterford and the arrangement has widely been described as unsustainable in modern Gaelic games.

Speaking on 2FM’s Game On last night, however, Cuthbert refused to come down one way or the other on the deal with his small ball colleagues on Leeside.

“Both Jimmy Barry-Murphy and myself would have said that we’ll take this step-by-step,” Cuthbert says. “When we looked at the league it worked out fine, the fact the three of them were injured and played very little league games. And then the hurling happened before we got going and the draw against Waterford probably threw a bit of a spanner in the works for us in terms of us selecting Eoin, Aidan and Damien for the Tipperary game.

“But I’d like to think that it’s been managed as well as it could be managed. and I’d like to think at the end of this season we’re going to have to sit down and look at the merits and demerits because there are certainly pluses and minuses to it. But we’ll wait until the end of the year before we decide whether it’s something that’s sustainable or not.”

Cuthbert has culled the side that were well beaten by the Kingdom with Cahalane one of six changes to the starting XV for the Saturday’s qualifier.

“People like dual players understand they have to be treated the same as everybody else. When they’re playing well, they’re playing well and if they’re not playing so well, they’re not playing so well and you suffer consequences,” said the Bishopstown man.

“I think to be fair to Eoin, Aidan and Damien, they’re making as good a fist of it as they can. But at the same time, there’s obviously as you say drawbacks to it as well. Looking at it from where I’m looking at it, we’re trying to manage it as best we can. You obviously like to have your players with you all of the time within the group but it’s just not the way it worked out this year due to the arrangement that we decided a long time ago.

“You’ve to stand and fall on that and players have to stand and fall on that. And the bottom line is that at the end of this year we’ll have a very good idea of where we’re at”

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