Cork hurling legend Diarmuid O’Sullivan is sick of the negativity which surrounds underage hurling in Cork at the minute.
“Negativity breeds further negativity,” O’Sullivan told the Evening Echo, the iconic full-back is in a better position than most to make an assessment of the county’s fortunes on the hurling fields.
The three-time All-Ireland medal winner with the Leesiders has been co-ordinating the under-16 hurlers for the last two seasons and is unhappy with the stick the county’s underage structures has been receiving.
The county’s minors have not contested a Munster final since 2008 and their u21’s were easily brushed aside during the week by Waterford.
However, 'The Rock' feels the criticism is not helping: “It’s only natural that if you keep kicking a dog, the next time you go to kick him he’s going to hide."
Following last year's All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Tipperary, RTE pundit and former team mate of O’Sullivan, Donal Og Cusack was highly critical of the underage structures being implemented by the Cork County Board.
It’s an opinion that is shared by most Cork supporters but O’Sullivan, who won four All Stars as a player with the Rebels, believes this is a 'cop-out'.
“Everyone is responsible from the clubs up to the top. I’m not interested in taking sides but the hurling fraternity in Cork has to help us get to where we want to be," he said.
O’Sullivan is particularly angered by those playing the blame game who are 'sitting on their hands' at both Club and County level.
“Why are they not helping out?,” says O’Sullivan who believes until the people get behind their teams there will be a dark cloud hanging over Cork hurling.
Corks supporters can be 'fickle' continues O’Sullivan who said that in his last season for Cork he was withdrawn during a game and a supporter roared, 'About time you came off'.
The same supporter approached O’Sullivan after Cork lost out in the All-Ireland to Clare in 2013 saying, 'could have done with you there'.
"We have to be positive and supportive. We’ve to build ourselves back up," he added
The Rock admits Cork may be losing some of their finest assets to other sports, the most potent example that springs to mind is Darren Sweetnam, who played championship hurling for Cork at 19-years-old in 2012, but has since switched his allegiance to Munster Rugby.
O'Sullivan said: “Some of the higher quality athletes, the more athletically developed players, are being cherry-picked by other sports. You’re losing a certain percentage of your best hurlers and that’s tough”.