It was evident that day of the All-Ireland semi-final against Limerick last year that Cork had only 17 or 18 guys they could really trust. Whereas Limerick had around 20 and that was the difference.
The Cork management need to find five or six guys in the upcoming National League that they can go to on their bench throughout the Championship and know that they can trust to make an impact.
The Rebels must build from there.
There’s some potential from that Cork u21 team that lost the All-Ireland final – especially Declan Dalton, Chris O’Leary, Conor Cahalane, Sean O’Leary Hayes and Brian Turnbull. You add that to Tim O’Mahony and Robbie O’Flynn who came on board last year.
These guys really need to push on now and put John Meyler in a position where he can’t ignore them.
That will give them the right to go and ask ‘why am I not getting game time’.
They need to make it so the management can’t say ‘no’ to them anymore.
With the National League structure as it is now for 2019 with no relegation, it will allow county managers the space to try things.
Of course you’ll want to win games, but you also want to learn at the same time.
If you look at Cork’s League games last year, every game probably figured the same 13 or 14 guys.
This year when you are playing a top team, you can allow yourself to make four or five changes and put lads in to see if they can prove to you that they can compete at this level. It just gives you that opportunity to mix and match on a weekly basis.
Okay, you still don’t want to finish bottom of the League, but it’d be nice to finish with two or three wins and find five players – something similar to what Brian Cody did last year.
Tipp top of the agenda
Cork would still be naive not to focus on Tipperary in the opening game of the Munster Championship in May. I suppose that could be where your summer starts and finishes.
If you don’t win your home games, you’re going to be on the back foot. Cork need to get off in the right manner.
John Meyler will use his five League games to find out where his squad are at and what they need to do to be successful this year.