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Ex-Cork hurling captain labels lack of proper training facilities for the Rebels 'a disgrace'

Pat Mulcahy has outlined the three key reasons as to why Cork are battling relegation.

FORMER CAPTAIN PAT Mulcahy has identified three key reasons behind Cork’s dismal form in the Allianz Hurling League – including the lack of proper training facilities for manager Kieran Kingston and his players in pre-season.

The 2005 All-Ireland medallist has described as “a disgrace” the scenario where Cork didn’t have an adequate pitch to train on before commencing their League campaign.

The Cork players stand for the National Anthem Cork have suffered five league defeats in a row this season. Source: Mike Shaughnessy/INPHO

Mulcahy also pointed out that the Rebels were coming from “an incredibly low base” after losing heavily to Waterford and Galway in last year’s championship – and he lamented the lack of players coming through to the senior ranks from last year’s U21 set-up.

Mulcahy explained: “There are three reasons why Cork have had a poor League campaign.

“Number one, they were coming from an incredibly low base last year.

“In the championship against notable teams – Waterford and Galway – both hammered them.

“We also got nothing from last year’s U21 team, very few between the ages of 18-23 have stepped up.

“And Cork didn’t train on pitches before they started the League – they had nowhere to train.

“I spoke to Kieran Kingston about this and they were using the fourth pitch in Mallow.

Pat Mulcahy Pat Mulcahy has been coach of the Cork IT Fitzgibbon Cup team in recent seasons. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“So they had nothing done, which is a disgrace from a facilities perspective.

“They had a poor start to the league and it’s gotten tougher as the campaign went on.

“They had reasonable games against Waterford and Kilkenny but have been playing catch up.”

Cork lost all five of their Division 1A fixtures and now face Galway for top-flight survival at Pearse Stadium on Sunday week.

And Mulcahy, while predicting that Kingston and his selectors will have a defined system of play in place come championship time, is also concerned by massive concession rates.

Daniel Kearney A dejected Daniel Kearney after Cork's recent loss to Kilkenny Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Cork, on average, conceded 29 points per game from those five matches and Mulcahy reflected: “They just look open and don’t look cohesive, even with a sweeper.

“To my mind, sweepers can make defenders tend to be a bit looser.

“It’s all about space in defence and denying space but even with the sweeper there, they don’t seem to be able to deny opposition space.

“There’s too much of it in front of the Cork full-back line and they’ve got to shut down that space and learn how to defend.

“Even watching Limerick and Clare on Sunday, they know how to defend and shut down opposition players.

“It’s not there yet with Cork, the raw, defensive piece.”

Kieran Kingston and Diarmuid O'Sullivan Cork manager Kieran Kingston and selector Diarmuid O'Sullivan Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

But Mulcahy is still backing Kingston to get things right ahead of the Munster SHC quarter-final showdown with Tipperary on May 22.

He added: “Honestly, I think this is very early for him (Kingston).

“He’s only had about four weeks training done with them and you have to give him championship.

“You could have a good League campaign but you’ll still be judged on the championship.

“He’s a pretty modern coach with good guys around him and we’ll have a defined system, which we didn’t have last year.

“I think they’ll have that this year in the first round and it will be a different Cork team come championship.

“But these Cork players haven’t won a lot in the last couple of years and have had a couple of big defeats, not just by a few points.”

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Jackie Cahill

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