Cork Have Duals But Will Wait To Take Crown
Cork v Kerry
Despite the controversy over the seeding of teams in Munster, the end result is what most of us want to see: a Kerry-Cork Munster final. It’s like beer..you might have experienced it many times before, but you look forward to it and know you’ll love it again.
Like beer, it also has the potential to leave you sick (like when you back a draw last year at 8’s and see the Cork comeback fall just short). It can’t however be linked to waking up in a strange room with someone whose name you think possibly began with a vowel.
Trying to get a full grasp of where Cork or Kerry are at is harder than getting a grip of an oiled up Kate Moss. Under Brian Cuthbert, Cork had a useful league, hammering an understrength Kerry in Tralee en route to a semi-final clash with the Dubs. Having already beaten the Dubs in the league, matters looked good as they went in at half-time leading by 2-9 to 0-7. Two points in the last half hour saw Cork implode. Their win over Tipp a fortnight ago saw dual star Aidan Walsh get them out of jail.
Eamon Fitzmaurice hasn’t had it easy this year but managed to keep Kerry in Division 1 after a horrific start. Gooch-less and Paul Galvin-less, it looked initially like he might also be without James O’Donoghue, but the Legion man is named for Sunday. Their win over Clare in Ennis displayed character and Fitzmaurice’s tactical astuteness on the line saw him make calls early that helped Kerry through.
Much media interest has centred on the double-jobbing trio of Aidan Walsh, Damian Cahalane and Eoin Cadogan, and while all three are key men, it’s Brian Hurley who I believe holds the key for Cork. If he’s at his busy best inside and there’s a decent supply, Kerry will struggle to match up. If he’s on fire and Colm O’Neill lands in beside him, it could be rebel ecstasy.
For Kerry, James O’Donoghue is their main goal threat so his being up to speed is vital. Declan O’Sullivan is named at full, and if he can bring anything like his best then the Cork backs will probably all have a turn chasing shadows.
In what is likely to be a tight affair the free-taking of Daniel Goulding and Brian Hurley for Cork and Bryan Sheehan and Johnny Buckley could be crucial.
The Tipp scare would suggest that, like Derry after their final drubbing, Cork have been shaken by their league semi-final collapse against the Dubs. The dropping and then re-instating of the dual players doesn’t look strong from Cuthbert. On the flip side, they had the talent to totally outplay the Dubs before they fell flat.
Cuthbert’s job will be in trying to re-instill the Cork swagger. The saying goes that a Corkman with an inferiority complex thinks he’s just as good as everyone else, and looking at these two sides they look just as good as each other. While the 4/1 Kerry half-time/full-time is an interesting price, we’ll forget about last year’s sickening and plump for the tastier 15/2 about the draw.