John McIntyre: I've never seen a worse Cork backline in all my years
Former Galway manager and ex-Tipperary player John McIntyre has delivered a damning assessment of the Cork hurlers - insisting that they're in crisis and that he's never seen a worse defence lining out for the Rebels.
McIntyre described Cork's Allianz League Division 1A relegation play-off against Galway in Salthill on Sunday week as a "critical" fixture and accused their defenders of lacking the necessary cynicism to compete at the top level.
McIntyre does believe that Cork will improve in time for their Munster SHC quarter-final against Tipperary on May 22, however, and added that Galway are also under massive pressure to deliver following the controversial heave that ousted former manager Anthony Cunningham last year.
"There's no question that Cork hurling is in something of a crisis at the moment," McIntyre told Tipp FM. "That's why their relegation play-off match against Galway on Sunday week is critical.
"If they suffer a bad defeat in that game at Pearse Stadium, it's going to leave them in bad mental shape for the Munster championship against Tipp.
"I've never seen a worse Cork backline in all my years following hurling. I don't think they hit hard enough, they're not cynical enough, they're trying to play the ball a lot of the time.
"They have forwards - Conor Lehane and Patrick Horgan will do damage if you give them space - but they're haemorrhaging at the back, and it's a long time since Cork played a group campaign in the League and didn't win a match.
"They've shipped some heavy defeats along the way - they were particularly atrocious against Dublin up in Croke Park.
"Pride alone, as well we know, in the red jersey, means we'll see a different Cork come the summer, but the question is how much improvement can they get from their current resources?
"They're certainly devoid of top-quality defenders and leaders in defence.
Similarly, McIntyre has warned of potentially dire consequences for Galway should they lose to Cork in the relegation shootout.
"The Galway squad is under pressure after their revolt against Anthony Cunningham," he added.
"They've stuck their head above the parapet, they've made a tough stand, an unpopular stand in some parts of Galway.
"There's massive pressure on Galway to win that game and it would be perceived as almost disastrous if they were to lose it, especially given Cork's current troubles."