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Diarmuid O'Sullivan - 'The rest of the forwards were ineffective and that's very worrying'

Cork slumped to defeat in their Munster opener and face a tough task next Sunday.

Cork hurler Conor Lehane in action against the Tipperary defence.
Cork hurler Conor Lehane in action against the Tipperary defence.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

CORK ALL-IRELAND winner Diarmuid O’Sullivan has highlighted an ‘ineffective’ attack as an issue at the root of their problems as they fell to defeat in last Sunday’s Munster opener against Tipperary.

Patrick Horgan was again top scorer for Cork with 0-14 and O’Sullivan feels it is vital he gets greater support if they are to rebound successfully against Limerick next Sunday.

“It was interesting after the game when John Meyler come out and questioned if the Cork forwards (outside of Hoggie) working hard enough? Was that the right platform to single them out?

“It was an interesting take on it, but it is probably something that was better kept inside the dressing room to have it out. Was it the right thing to do in the public domain? Maybe he has his reasons.

“The two things Cork need going forward are Bill Cooper and Alan Cadogan. Alan has obviously picked up an injury again, but they need him back quickly for his running and scoring ability if they are to get back into this Munster championship campaign.

“Cork are far too reliant on Patrick Horgan and have been for a while now. Unless other guys start taking the responsibility and sharing the load with Hoggie, Cork are going nowhere. Hoggie nearly always turns up, but what about the day he doesn’t? Cork should be really worried about that day.

“Seamus Harnedy got 1-02, but to be honest, I thought he went missing for a lot of the game. I’d actually rate Shane Kingston higher than him. Kingston finished with three points and we fouled on numerous occasion. He also got no reward from the officials as more fouls on him went unpunished, but at least he carried a threat. Harnedy got a point in the first minute, a goal with five minutes to go and a point somewhere in between – where was he for the rest of it?

“The rest of the forwards were ineffective and that’s very worrying. Conor Lehane also need to stand up next Sunday and be the player we all expected him to be if Cork are to get anything out of the Limerick game.”

O’Sullivan also pointed to the contrast between the performance of the Cork and Tipperary half-back lines.

“The entire game was a tale of two half-back lines really. Tipperary’s was totally dominant and the three Mahers hit four points from play between them. They easily handled any scenario Cork threw at them, which was mainly throw the ball right down their alley.

“As for the Cork half-backs, to call a spade a spade, they were utterly ran ragged! Bubbles (John O’Dwyer) was named at corner-forward for Tipp, but operated at centre-forward for large parts of the match and did untold damage to Cork. You have to set your platform from your half-back line and Cork didn’t do it.”

John O’Dwyer and Darragh Fitzgibbon John O'Dwyer in action for Tipperary against Cork on Sunday. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

O’Sullivan didn’t feel referee Sean Cleere did Cork any favours.

“There was a lot of cynicism from the Tipperary backs let go in the second half. Sean Cleere seems to ignore the clear pulls and trips on the Cork forwards.

“It’s like someone had a word in his ear at half time because he reffed the second half completely different from the first. There’s no doubt that the leeway he gave Tipp to be cynical helped them to victory. He won’t be on Cork’s Christmas card list, that’s for sure.”

Tipperary head into next Sunday’s encounter with Waterford brimming with confidence whereas Cork face the onerous task of heading to take on All-Ireland champions Limerick.

“From a Tipp prospective, it will go a long way to appeasing supporters for the very poor run form they carried through last year’s Munster championship. To come down to Cork and walk away with a comfortable victory – and it was comfortable, they could have won by more even – will be very pleasing for them.

“The Cork bubble burst. There was a huge emphasis put on the importance of winning home games and now they’ve left themselves a big ask heading into the next three games. Is it beyond them?

“The funny thing is, it’s not and they could go to the Gaelic Grounds and get a victory. If we can even get a point that would be great. If we can get into third place that will be fine.”

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Diarmuid O’Sullivan is GAA hurling ambassador and columnist with Paddy Power News

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