Selector Ciarán O'Sullivan hoping for Cork response
By Cian O'Connell
Though the Munster SFC Final ended in deep disappointment for Cork when losing heavily to Kerry, selector Ciarán O’Sullivan is hopeful that the team can respond in the All Ireland series.
Saturday’s Round Four Qualifier against Tyrone at O’Moore Park will be a revealing encounter for Cork with O’Sullivan completely aware of the significance of the game.
A victory over Tyrone would earn Cork three more valuable Championship matches so a massive prize awaits the winners.
“It is of course, we are all looking forward to it, the players are looking forward to it, everyone is - to get to the Super 8s would be fantastic with the three extra games that is what you want really to develop the panel and to develop players,” O’Sullivan admits. “You'd like to see whether you can move on from there again.
“That would be a huge bonus and the target for all the teams involved is to get that one more win to get into the Super 8s. We have a panel that is relatively new a lot of them, that isn't making excuses for the performance the last day.
“We have a lot of older lads there also, some on the bench, some starting. There is a good mix definitely. If you could get into the Super 8s it gives you competitive games at that high level playing very good teams. That is what you want, it will bring on any player, the experience and exposure to what is out there.”
The manner in which Cork failed to build on an encouraging start against Kerry was a blow according to O’Sullivan, who was a widely respected Cork footballer in his playing days, while also serving as a selector under Brian Cuthbert.
“Disappointment would be an understatement,” O’Sullivan reflects. “It was very disappointing the overall result because we had started very well.
“We started as we had hoped to start, but there was a 10 minute spell where Kerry got a grip at midfield and we found it very hard to get the ball up the field. They were getting plenty of supply, that is where we came under severe pressure to be honest.”
Does the fact that Cork came so close to causing a surprise against Mayo at this exact stage following a provincial decider defeat to Kerry in 2017 carry any weight?
“If I thought we could get the same performance next Saturday, like how the lads performed last year against Mayo, that would be a huge bonus,” O’Sullivan says.
“I suppose you take every game separately and there was no reason why we didn't perform against Kerry. The work had been done, the lads were looking forward to it, I'm not quite sure why it went so badly, but that isn't to say that by next Saturday the lads won't turn it around.”
O’Sullivan is adamant that Cork can still respond to turn the campaign into a successful adventure. “I'm firmly convinced that no matter how hard something is it is there for you if you want it badly enough,” O’Sullivan adds.
“If we have that attitude on Saturday I've no doubt we won't be too far away at all, especially if we have that never say die attitude.”