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'It would give Cork a bit of excitement to see him pulling the strings at centre forward'

Anthony Nash on the positioning of Patrick Horgan and if the Rebels can kick against Waterford.

Cork forward Patrick Horgan.
Cork forward Patrick Horgan.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

FORMER CORK HURLER Anthony Nash believes the Rebels should play Patrick Horgan at centre-half forward for this weekend’s showdown against Waterford.

Speaking on The42‘s GAA Weekly hurling show, Nash called for changes aplenty as Kieran Kingston’s side head to Walsh Park.

They do so wounded, after a disappointing defeat to Clare last time out followed an opening-day hiding to Limerick.

Nash called for Tim O’Mahony and Darragh Fitzgibbon to line out in midfield on Sunday — though hopes the former, “a natural, big ball-winning, very good hurler,” will be deployed at 11 in the forward line in future.

For now, though, the South Liberties goalkeeper believes Horgan should be the beating heart of the attack.

“Hoggie has been the best centre forward in club hurling in Cork for the last I don’t know how long,” Nash told Maurice Brosnan and Fintan O’Toole. “He pulls the strings.

“I know a lot of teams, the narration is, ‘Oh the GPS numbers are this,’ and, ‘The GPS numbers are that,’ but if you’re Tadhgh de Burca and you’re sitting back off and next thing you see Hoggie sitting there, you’re going, ‘Well Jesus, maybe I can’t sit as deep as I’d like to. He’s going to score from everywhere.’

I think they need a change, and I think it would give the team a bit of excitement to see him pulling the strings at centre forward. It’s not a huge change because he plays his club hurling there for The Glen.”

“We need something different,” Nash added, hoping to see Shane Kingston and Alan Connolly inside, with Horgan moving out, and Damien Cahalane starting, among other switches to the 15.

“If you go out with the same game plan, with the same players again… look, it hasn’t worked. It hasn’t worked in the big games. And against Waterford in the league final, it certainly didn’t work. So you can’t go again with the same kind of players.”

Asked if there will be a kick in Cork after their dire few weeks, Nash said that Tipperary’s performance against Limerick last week gave him hope, in a way.

“Cork obviously have to win. This is it. It’s a massive game, not just a massive game for the county, it’s a massive game for the management and for a lot of players.

“It is a monumental game for Cork hurling. If they can get a win and go to Tipperary with a chance, then great. But the very minimum would have to be a whole-hearted performance.

“It’s not impossible, I’ll put it to you that way. If you’re looking at it with a journalistic head, or an outside head, you’re going, ‘There’s no way Cork can do this, after the last three games they played. Where are they going to find the form from all of a sudden?’ But I just feel — and I hope that there’s a kick in them.

It’s a very tough task to go down to Walsh Park with a Liam Cahill team firing the way they are. Look, hope is there. I wouldn’t write Cork off just yet, but I’d like to see that team hit the field.”

Whether the Rebels can mount a sizeable challenge and secure a result or not will depend on the team, he stressed, when urged to get off the fence and nail his colours to the mast.

“If they go with the same team and the same game plan they’ve gone with for the last few weeks, no. And that’s the simple answer from me.

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“Waterford now are as intense as Limerick; if you go out the same team, if you put out the same game plan and if you try and run the ball from the back against Waterford, you are fecked.

“If they decide to tweak it a little bit — I’m not saying now throw the baby out of the bath water, keep the core and hurl with a bit more direct ball, with Hoggie pulling the strings at centre forward — yes they can. That’s my answer.

“No if they keep with the same game plan, same players. Absolutely not.”

To listen to the full episode, go to members.the42.ie.

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