Tuesday 22 August 2017

Morgan calls on Rebels to bring potent Masters in from the cold

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

FOR all of the options at Cork's disposal, Billy Morgan reckons one of the county's most potent attacking threats remains unutilised.

Morgan believes his Nemo Rangers clubmate James Masters is "one of the best forwards in the country" and claimed that a member of Conor Counihan's back-room team holds a similar view.

"One of the current Cork selectors said to me that Cork will not win an All-Ireland without James Masters," said Morgan, who was being inducted into the MBNA Hall of Fame.

"I'm very sorry that he's not there, because he's still one of the best forwards in the country, but he wasn't treated too well."

Masters walked out of the squad in March after appearing only as an injury-time substitute in Rounds 2 and 3 of the National League against Kerry and Galway, while he did not feature at all in the opening round against Monaghan.

The emergence of players like Ciaran Sheehan and Colm O'Neill forced Masters to the periphery and after O'Neill's impact when introduced against Dublin, Morgan believes Counihan has some tough calls to make ahead of the All-Ireland final.

possibility

"I would be looking at the possibility of (O'Neill and Sheehan) playing in the forward line. I would be picking what I would consider the best 15 to start," he said.

"They have been bringing in Nicholas Murphy and Colm O'Neill as impact subs. I would pick the best team to start and go at the opposition from the throw-in. Nicholas has a back injury and he mightn't last 70 minutes. But I would like to see him start, play 40 or 50 minutes and if he can't go any further, then he has to come off.

"Eoin Cadogan is a fine player. When he came on last Sunday, he did very well. He has nearly four more weeks to prepare for the final. I would be playing him. And if Graham (Canty) is fit, I would have the two of them (along with Michael Shields) in our defence. But it's up to the selectors. They've been fiddling with the team all year. Nobody knows what team will be playing in the All-Ireland final."

Morgan was quick to praise Cork's performance in the closing minutes of the Dublin game, claiming that victory hinted at a new-found resilience in the side.

"Since 2004, they have been in six All-Ireland semi-finals. They are now in their third final in four years.

"So, there is a resilience about them now. I don't think they would have won (the Dublin game) a few years ago. The fact is that after Cork's goal, Dublin went down the field and scored and you might have thought it was gone then, but they hung in there and got the scores to win it."

Irish Independent

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