Tuesday 24 April 2018

Cyril Farrell: Rebel 'butterflies' never flinch in Munster dogfight

Patrick Horgan: On Song Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Patrick Horgan: On Song Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Cyril Farrell

Cork aren't short of confidence at the best of times, but after putting back-to-back wins together against top-quality opposition, their confidence will be through the roof.

They didn't hit the heights of the last day - they were never going to - but everyone was questioning the open nature of the Tipp game and saying it played to Cork's strengths, feeling that they wouldn't handle the heat when Waterford brought them into a dogfight.

However, they didn't flinch and kept tipping away at their own game and dug it out. They won a game that they haven't had a good record in recently and now they're on a roll and will fancy themselves in a Munster final.

Cork were floating around like butterflies; they were beautiful to watch and their touch was razor sharp. I thought Waterford would be able to close them down a lot more, but their touch and movement always got them out of trouble.

Dander

Their combination play up front was outstanding and it's a breath of fresh air in a championship that is getting better by the week. Cork will be hard to stop now. Of all counties, when their dander is up they're so dangerous.

Seamus Harnedy had a fantastic game and with Patrick Horgan on song again and Alan Cadogan clipping over points, they have the forwards to beat any team. Most importantly, they've added an extra effort to compliment their flair.

They were dancing on the ball, composed in possession and giving lovely flicks. Waterford tried to get in among them with some hard tackles, but it didn't upset them and they picked off some great scores.

Cork were trying to create goal chances any time they could. If it was 50-50 to take a point or take it on, they always took it on and that's a sign of a team bouncing with confidence - they whipped over scores from everywhere.

Anthony Nash was conducting the orchestra again, and he's like an extra outfield player for them; his use of the ball is top class. Starting with him in goal, they were dictating the pace and always looked that bit sharper and a step ahead of Waterford.

If it hadn't been for Stephen O'Keeffe Cork would have been out of sight, as he stopped three certain goals. Cork have come from nowhere and are now genuine All-Ireland contenders. I have them as slight favourites going into the final with Clare.

They showed glimpses during the league, and obviously against Tipp, but considering all the questions we've had about them, this team has a settled look and they have plenty of options to choose from on the line.

Thousands of Cork supporters ran out on to the pitch at the final whistle, and this is after a Munster semi-final. If they do the business the next day the place will explode. It just shows that, no more than the Cork players, the fans are hungry for it.

It's a big loss for Waterford, a huge setback. They had a lot more to lose than Cork and the back-door is a minefield. They put all their eggs into the championship basket and now it's nearly empty.

Struggled

You'd have to ask can they afford to be short attackers anymore and maybe they'll have to go back to a conventional set-up. They favour the sweeper, but they had to play so deep. Most of the first-half they only had two up and they struggled to make inroads.

The four forwards have to work too hard to keep it up there and they've nothing left in the tank when it comes to getting scores. Even with the extra men at the back, they couldn't close down the Cork forwards, who were creating space with brilliant wrist work.

There was a penalty decision turned down after a foul on Maurice Shanahan when the game was in the melting pot, but Cork were the better team and deserved to win. Maybe the 11 weeks hurt Waterford, as they were finding it difficult to get to the pace of the game and were just hanging on the whole time.

Austin Gleeson got a point that no one would get and while he was off-key yesterday, he is a proper talent, but they'll have to nail down a spot for him to make him the player that he could be.

Waterford tried everything, but they just weren't good enough.

Irish Independent

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