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Brian Cuthbert: 'Teams can't afford to play a style of football that doesn't suit them'

The Cork boss says just copying Dublin won’t do any good without the type of player they have.

Cuthbert feels Cork need to be more ruthless.
Cuthbert feels Cork need to be more ruthless.
Image: Cathal Noonan

CORK’S MUNSTER SENIOR Football Championship campaign begins tonight, as they face Tipperary in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, but manager Brian Cuthbert says they might not play the same style of football that saw them reach the Division 1 semi-final earlier this year.

For starters, he feels his team needs to be more “rugged and aggressive”.

“We’re very much like you saw in the league where we go out and move the ball as fast as we can because I think we are very mobile, very young, very enthusiastic.

“I think nationally Cork would be looked on as a team that are nice ball players. That has to change if we are going to be successful but that’s not going to happen overnight.

“I would see even with the Dublin game in the league, there was stuff in the media, stuff came out on the radio where people would have said Cork are this, Cork are that, they have no heart, that they capitulated.

“It’s very, very important that we do go out and make sure they don’t think like that in the future.”

John Hayes and Brian Hurley dejected after the game John Hayes and Brian Hurley can't believe what's happened after the league semi final. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Negative tactics

You see it regularly in soccer and the GAA could be about to follow suit with Cuthbert believing Dublin’s attacking style may force teams to adopt negative tactics.

Jim Gavin’s Dublin team executed a fifteen point turnaround against Cork in the league semi-final, after going in at half-time eight points in arrears.

“Someone scores a goal in the Champions League semi-final and the striker is whipped off and they put on a centre half.

“[Gaelic] football will end up going that way – Dublin are the first team that can attack in so many ways and they really go at you.”

And the answer?

“Rather than go man for man and press them up the field, maybe what Jimmy McGuinness did in 2012? When Dublin had the momentum we didn’t arrest it, we didn’t stop it, we just let it happen.

“If you are 10 or 12 points up do you send somebody on to try and score 13?”

Source: TG4/YouTube

Cork had no answer to Dublin’s athleticism and strength in depth in the second half of that league semi-final, as the Blues’ substitutes alone amassed nine points between them, with 12 outfield players getting on the score sheet.

“You play to your strengths. Dublin play to theirs. We will certainly be aiming to play to ours. I haven’t lost one ounce of sleep thinking about what Dublin’s strengths are right now or what we must do to match them.

“I completely focus on what my group needs from me, what do they need from themselves, how do we get ready for Tipperary.”


Kieran Donaghy and Michael Shields 16/9/2007Kerry’s tactics were the template in 2006.Source: Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO

Cuthbert is adamant the key for Cork this year is not to follow the pack in trying to play how Dublin play – he’s seen it all before and it doesn’t work.

“They do come full circle. Go back to 2006 and Kieran Donaghy and every club team, junior and senior had a big fella inside in the square. He might not have been very skillful but they were just kicking the ball in because they believed this is what wins.

“My belief is that you must do what suits your group, your players, and Dublin are a prime example of it.

“They play a game completely based on the strength of their players - they are mobile, they are fit, they can run. For other people to copy that without having the prototype player Dublin have, they are going down the wrong road.

“Look at other teams, Monaghan being a case in point. I think they play absolutely to their strengths and they completely, completely, understand what they are supposed to do.

“I looked at them in the Division 2 final and they are going to be there or thereabouts this year because they are in a very good place.

“I think it’s about playing to your strengths and not copying other teams, but unfortunately we will see in the championship again this year, plenty of teams morphing into what mightn’t suit them.”

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