Tuesday 20 March 2018

Snipers won't get to counihan

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

THERE was nothing flaky or unreliable about Conor Counihan during his playing days. His colleague Larry Tompkins, himself a man with an unyielding will, always portrayed Counihan as a true warrior when the heaviest lifting needed to be done, while the great Meath team of the 1986-91 era had huge respect for the Cork No 6 on the basis of his driven approach and real honesty.

Counihan has tried to make those qualities central to how the current Cork team performs. They have lost to nobody except Kerry in the championship under him, but since managers -- certainly at this level -- are judged on whether they win the All-Ireland, Counihan knows that the sceptics will continue to prosper unless Sam Maguire appears in Patrick's Street on Monday night.

Interestingly, some pre-emptive strikes have already been heading towards Counihan, with claims that James Masters should be on the panel -- and the team. This criticism comes despite the fact that the Nemo Rangers man left the squad of his own volition last spring.

Most of the comment on Masters' absence has been coming from Cork, so the 'I told you so brigade' will be lying in wait for Counihan if Down win on Sunday.

It's just as well he's mentally strong enough to ignore people whose version of support actually comes across as undermining their own county. That's ego for you.

Irish Independent

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