The lack of consistency in Cork’s back-line puts a serious question mark on their ability to compete in the championship in the summer, says former Waterford star John Mullane, adding that he was 'thoroughly disappointed with Cork' in their five-point loss away to Galway.
There is no settlement in their team. If you were to pick the Cork team in the morning, you couldn’t name their one-to-nine, and at the end of the day the platform for any team going forward trying to be successful, you have to have a solid one-to-nine," said Mullane on this week’s Throw-In podcast in association with Allianz.
A win for the rebels would have kept them in contention for the Allianz League playoffs, but their slow performance in Pearse Stadium was hampered by a second-half sending off for half-forward Robbie O’Flynn in their 2-18 to 1-16 loss in Salthill. But Mullane believes that O’Flynn’s sending off was an opportunity for Cork to show some fighting spirit in the clash.
"I was watching the game, and when Cork went ahead - Tim O’Malley put them ahead - and a silly foul came from Robbie O’Flynn, I was thinking to myself 'now you’re down to 14 men, let's see what you’re made of, let’s answer all the questions that are out there about this Cork team at the present moment in time'.
"They came up short in answering those questions. And I think for Cork, if ever a team needed a good League campaign, even to go into a semi-final or maybe get to the League final, it would be them. I think Kieran Kingston required that from his team.
"They’re going into the championship now (facing) 70 days without a competitive game, and they’re going into the unknown, still with the question marks over number three, still with the question marks over centre-back, still with question marks up front. With another one or two games, they could have found out a little bit more about their team."
On the plus side for the Leesiders, their forward line seems more consistent, something that Colm Keys noted on the Throw-In, saying that "you could probably pick their 10-15 pretty easily, more so than maybe any other county" And Mullane believes that the ability to score gives Cork some hope for the future.
"One big plus for Cork is the form of Shane Kingston, he’s the one lad who’s putting his head up and is going straight for goal. But they have probably the best forward unit in the country, but I still think that they need a ball-winner and that’s why I think that maybe Tim O’Mahony’s best position could be wing-forward, with the mindset of tracking back and helping out his midfield.
"Cork are kind of becoming a bit too predictable. But write them off at your peril, if there’s one sure thing it’s that just when you think you should write them off, they become very very dangerous opponents for any opposition."