Diarmuid O’Sullivan: Alan Cadogan must start for Cork from now on

The hurling legend feels the Douglas forward needs to be a constant in the Rebels’ side and looks at the current state of officiating in the game.

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Sunday’s win for Cork was poles apart from the Tipperary performance really.

It’s hard to understand how a team can be so poor one week and turnaround to put in a stellar performance the next week. The key thing for me is attitude. It reflects in your performance – always has, always will.

Cork’s attitude was spot on in most areas against Limerick. I’m not in the camp, so I can’t say for sure that a ‘clear the air’ discussion happened. But, I can say that the Cork management were willing to fall on their sword with their team selection.

So, whether it was an internal discussion or just genuine player pride driving it, once they got the result who cares. It doesn’t matter if a group of players get on with a management team or not, it boils down to the individuals within the group. Whatever is going on in the camp, it still comes back to you and pride in the jersey you fill.

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Awesome Alan

It looked like we might get something out of Conor Lehane as he started well with an early point, but he got injured and he has a fortnight now to get himself right for Waterford.

The thing that gets to me is, if you can bring Alan Cadogan on in that kind of form, then why wasn’t he starting? He came on, made himself very busy and had a huge impact on the game.

Alan Cadogan absolutely must start for Cork from now on.

When he plays like that, he’ll cause any corner-back in the country problems. To get over 65 minutes, plus injury time out of him answers a lot of questions about his fitness and he should be an integral part of the team going forward.

I identified last week that Bill Cooper and Alan Cadogan were the two players Cork needed going forward and it really showed.

Second half knock-out

From the start of the second half on, Cork got a lot of joy from longer puckouts. It was highly successful for them and it gave them a platform to play. If they weren’t winning the primary ball, they were snapping up the breaks.

Another thing that had a big impact was bringing on Stephen McDonnell – he completely nullified Graeme Mulcahy. He showed his man-marking abilities, even if he didn’t do much on the ball.

It was fantastic to see his full-back line colleagues continue their form from last week. Young Niall O’Leary had another great showing and Eoin Cadogan has been a big plus to Cork in the last fortnight as well. His attitude and maturity has been spot on.

He was in one-on-one situations a few times and they are not easy for a back, but holding a player like Aaron Gillane to a single point from play says a lot about the job Eoin did.

He’s certainly justifying his inclusion at the number three spot.

Getting 1-20 from play all in is an impressive return, whatever way you break it down.

The 10 points from the half-forward line was brilliant, but it’s no major surprise to me that the guys you want to have a big effect on the game – like Daniel Kearney, Seamus Harnedy, Darragh Fitzgibbon and Luke Meade – had a huge impact.

They were helped by Bill Cooper’s industry and unselfishness in the middle of the field.

Any person who watched that game will see Cooper’s importance to Cork. His ability to fill gaps, break up ball and to offload to players in a better position is vital.

Luke Meade was outstanding last week and it was very pleasing to watch him back it up again this time around. People don’t see what Meade offers to the team.

He mightn’t be five or six points a game man, but he gives you so much more. If you actually sit down and analyse his performances, then you understand why he’s in there.

Unreliable refs

About five minutes before half time Paud O’Dwyer lost control of the game and his refereeing continued to be questionable after that. The yellow card Mark Coleman received was incredible.

If I was still playing the game, I wouldn’t have lasted 10 minutes!

Brian Gavin highlighted it recently in his article in The Examiner, that unfortunately, the high calibre referees are starting to go out of the game and we’re going to have to make do with a lesser standard of ref until they gain the experience and know-how to manage the game.

The standard has undoubtedly dropped over the last few years.

If this kind of refereeing continues the cut and trust of the Championship is going to slowly disappear.

I don’t ever remember someone being killed from a bit of handbags!

It’s part and parcel of the game and it’s what makes the Munster Championship so special. People ask if they need help, but did Brian Gavin or Barry Kelly need help? No. They had a bit of common sense and they knew what Championship hurling meant.

They understood there’d be a bit of rough and tumble here or a bit of holding there, but it was part of the game.

As a fan, you want to see guys on your team willing to go to the edge to win. But, some of the reffing we’ve seen so far has been very soft.

Limerick are far from done

The defeat is probably the kick Limerick needed too, Cork got it last week. They now know it’s not always going to be rosy in the garden for them and they are really going to have to get a big push on to retain their title.

They are away to Waterford the next day, who are on a poor run again, so all the pressure switches back to Limerick. It’s funny how the whole Munster Championship is going in swings & roundabouts, the only camp that seem quite happy are the new All-Ireland favourites Tipperary.

There wasn’t much wrong with Limerick, they just lacked a bit of fluency and sharpness when it came to the crunch.

Waterford is a tough place to go, but I reckon Limerick have enough to go down there and win.

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