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'It was important, look our home record has been appalling' - Cork's need to improve

Ronan McCarthy was glad to get a home win on Saturday night against Offaly.

HOME VICTORIES AND strong starts are traits that have not characterised the league campaigns during Ronan McCarthy’s time as Cork football boss.

ronan-mccarthy Cork boss Ronan McCarthy (file photo) Source: James Crombie/INPHO

A success over Louth in February 2018 has been the sole positive showing on Leeside soil with Tipperary, Cavan, Clare, Kildare, Meath and Donegal all dishing out defeats over the course of a pair of seasons operating in Division 2.

Then there was their opening games, that loss to Tipperary and a draw against Fermanagh starting them off on the backfoot immediately.

Those were a couple of items in McCarthy’s in-tray that needed addressing. So he’ll take the outcome on Saturday night then, putting 0-20 on the board against Offaly for a win that gets Cork up and running.

“It was important, look our home record has been appalling. I don’t know particularly why but it has been appalling. We’ve only got two points from 14 in the last two years. Important to get a home victory and maybe start to make this some bit of a fortress.

“When you don’t win your first game you are immediately under pressure, a tenseness comes about the next match, and then you feel if you don’t win the next match you are in deep trouble already at the start of the league so it’s great to win the first game.”

ronan-mccarthy Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

That point was reinforced by the result when the doors of Páirc Uí Chaoimh were opened. Cork’s recent league losses have been split between the county’s main stadium and up the road in Páirc Uí Rinn.

But their flagship ground had not witnessed a Cork senior football success since an Aidan Walsh inspired scoring spree saw off Tipperary in June 2014, with the caveat that the outings since had only totalled six.

The redevelopment and subsequent opening of stadium has been marred by issues flaring up. Saturday was a rare occasion of positivity for the county there.

“We’ve never really had it as a base,” said McCarthy.

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“There will be a slight benefit as the year goes on, and I don’t want to overplay this, we’ll have had four games here in the league. I think it’s a place we can probably start calling home now.

“Even the fact we were here Tuesday night and we will be here the weeks of the matches. The pitch was perfect. It’s absolutely perfect to play football on and a credit to everyone involved.”

Cork’s task in Division 3 is to live up to the tag of strong favourites but the team’s habit of lapsing into inconsistency will place their manager on his guard.

The return of a few players bolsters their chances.

ciaran-sheehan Ciaran Sheehan scored 0-3 for Cork on Saturday night against Offaly. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“Sam Ryan had a Grade 4 tear back in May, career ender could have been. (Sean) Powter obviously has had his issues for two years. Ciaran (Sheehan) has been away and even for them, people take for granted 70 minutes of inter-county football, it’s a big ask and they’ve all come through. We’ve got people in off the bench.

“I’m sure people think I’m saying it just to say it but when I was playing and Cork were a Division 1 team and we were winning Munster championships and playing in All-Ireland semi-finals regularly, we were beaten above in Wicklow and beaten above in Westmeath.

“This notion that you can just show up and it’ll be yours, I think Saturday night is a good example that there’s quality throughout the divisions. We controlled it well at the end and we have our two points. Let’s bring the right attitude again now to the match next week.”

Bernard Jackman joins Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey to discuss the ever-greying Saracens saga and pick his personal Ireland XV to face Scotland


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Fintan O'Toole

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