'If they get out of Munster and back to Croke Park, they'll be a dangerous animal'- John Mullane on Cork's potential
John Mullane is better known for the infamous 'I love me county' line when talking about his native Waterford, but the legendary forward said that it would be much easier for Cork supporters to love their county team if they knew which team was showing up.
Mullane was referring to the inconsistency of this Cork side, with critics of the team believing they haven't fulfilled their potential of climbing the Hogan Stand steps and bringing Liam MacCarthy leeside.
"You don't know what this Cork team are going to bring to the table. And you just don't. It's so frustrating from a Cork supporter's point of view because they all actually don't know," said Mullane, speaking on Independent.ie's GAA podcast The Throw In, in association with Bord Gáis Energy.
"The next day out against Waterford or Clare, what kind of performance are they going to get? Are they going to get [the Limerick] performance or are they going to get the performance against Tipperary? And that's what these Cork players have to decide going forward."
Mullane believes if they can navigate the Munster championship and place in the top three, John Meyler's men can potentially secure All Ireland glory, given their record in recent seasons.
"They're well capable of pushing on and getting out of Munster and winning the All Ireland and I actually did say after the league that Cork's biggest challenge would be getting out of Munster.
"If they get out of Munster and get back to Croke Park, they're going to be a dangerous animal," added Mullane.
The starkest display of their inconsistency in the opening two rounds of Munster is their concession rate of scores, conceding 2-24 from play against Tipperary compared to 1-7 against Limerick.
Irish Independent GAA reporter Michael Verney believes the change in consistency was down to a change in attitude as the Cork backs pushed up on their men in the Limerick test, not giving John Kiiely's men any space up front.
"Their backs just pushed up on their men and didn't give them space, got a hurl in, got a body in, attacked the ball an awful lot more than [the Tipperary game]," he said.
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"They showed Tipperary an awful lot of respect the last day and really didn't lay a glove on them and it was the exact opposite [against Limerick]."
Verney also highlighted that the Cork defence was a lot more astute at keeping the Limerick forwards at bay as they "fouled smartly" when the Limerick runners broke through their lines.
"They fouled quite smartly when it looked like their cover was going to be broken they took them down," said Verney.
Verney also believes that Cork showed mental strength against Limerick that was missing against Tipperary with their assertive body language.
"Aaron Gillane got a point off Eoin Cadogen and Cadogen was still in his face after and he was kind of in his face and in his togs the whole day.
"It was just a different kind of mentality and Aidan Walsh said it was the perfect preparation. They had a game under their belt, they needed something to play for. Now the challenge as John [Mullane] said is to deliver it consistently."