Tuesday 21 May 2019

'Playing at home is definitely an advantage' insists boss Considine

Cork minor hurling boss John Considine
Cork minor hurling boss John Considine

Denis Hurley

Current Cork minor hurling manager John Considine holds the distinction of being the last man to lead the county to an All-Ireland at the grade - however, that was back in 2001.

In the seventeen years since, the Rebels' relationship with the grade hasn't always been a positive one, with the final defeat to Galway in 2017 being their first appearance in the decider since 2007.

That was the last year of the 'old' minor grade of Under 18 and that same summer, a special one-off Under 17 competition was run for the players who were missing out on playing minor.

Considine was in charge of the Cork side that went all the way and he was chosen to take charge of the first minor team under the new age rules and new competition format as teams took part in a round-robin.

An up-and-down year saw Cork miss out on a place in the Munster final on scoring difference, but Considine hopes that the veterans of that campaign can lead a successful assault in 2019.

"They wouldn't all have started, but we have a lot of experience," he says.

"Daniel Hogan started last year and there's the likes of Luke Horgan, Ciarán O'Brien, Jack Cahalane, Cian McCarthy from St Oliver Plunketts. That experience should stand us in good stead. It's never an exact replica, but these lads have had two championship games in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, so Sunday will be their third.

"We've a lot of work done. We started early in the year and it's been a thorough process. We've played a lot of games, not always with full-strength sides because these players have a lot of things on.

"We stopped up for a couple of weeks in April but we're more than happy with the work that we've done."

In addition, the teething problems with adjusting to the change in system can be put to good use this time round. Considine is cognisant of the importance of looking at the competition as a whole rather than four stand-alone fixtures.

"We've been learning about their personalities and what they can deal with physically but that happens as you go along," he says.

"What we have learned from last year is how important the scoring-difference is. You got back and think, 'If we'd only converted that chance,' or 'If we'd stopped them on this chance.'

"Tipperary beat us by ten points in Thurles and that's what we were trying to overcome on the last day against Waterford. That's a twenty-point swing towards Tipperary and we still nearly did it but it was a huge thing to do.

"Had we only lost that game by six points, things were different."

Cork start with a clash against Tipperary in Páirc Uí Chaoimh before the counties' senior sides do battle. Considine believes that the venue can play a part, especially as it fills up for the main event towards the end of the minor clash.

"Playing at home is definitely an advantage, especially for young fellas," he says.

"Even the throw-in time is a factor, home at 2pm isn't as much of an advantage as home at 12 noon, travel-wise and everything.

"You're targeting your two home games and saying you need to win them. You'd imagine that there are going to be more Cork people than Tipperary people there and that last few minutes, if it's nip-and-tuck, the greater cheers will come from the Cork crowd."