Tuesday 24 October 2017

Rebels deserve more respect, insists Seanie McGrath

Seanie McGrath, Cork selector. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Seanie McGrath, Cork selector. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

He doesn't want to "labour" the point or get drawn too deeply into it, but Cork selector Seanie McGrath admits to feeling disappointment that the Rebels are not getting the recognition they deserve as a hurling force.

Acknowledging the fact that they finished 2013 without silverware, McGrath still feels that being within seconds of winning the All-Ireland title should earn more respect than what they appear to have garnered.

Cork are third favourites for the Munster title behind Tipperary and Clare, and McGrath agrees that is just about right.

"I wouldn't fancy labouring the point or getting too drawn into it. But for the players themselves there are times when you feel they may deserve a little bit better recognition," he said.

SUPERB

"At the same time, when you look at what is happening over the last few weeks... Clare had some wonderful league wins – the Waterford game was just incredible – while Tipperary are favourites justifiably, the league final was a superb game.

"At times during the year you would see some of the media stuff and you would feel disappointed that they don't get better recognition, but as regards the bookies, I think justifiably Tipp and Clare are ahead of us to be honest."

McGrath still feels Cork are low on the kind of experience built up by winning the major trophies that have continued to elude them in recent seasons.

With Brian Murphy and Tom Kenny both retiring, any link with winning Cork teams of the past has now been removed, though Shane O'Neill was a peripheral figure in 2006.

"Even though we got the experience from last year, we are still reasonably inexperienced," said McGrath.

"We have no guys on the panel that have two or three All-Irelands or leagues or Munster titles. Until you get to that platform, you can say that you are experienced. We need to start winning games."

McGrath admits that a season in Division 1B may have taken some of the sharpness from them and that's why they have undertaken a programme of challenge matches over the last month, playing Limerick, Wexford and Dublin.

"We felt that the day we played Tipperary in the qualifiers," he said. "The pitch was that little bit faster, we struggled big time for the first 10 or 15 minutes. Then we started to find our feet a bit and got to the pace of it.

"With respect to the teams in 1B, it was a bit of a dogfight. We went to Ballycastle to play Antrim. It was a pure dogfight and we were lucky to get a win in the end. But it wasn't that fast intense pace of 1A.

"It's a worry. That's why we have tried to play as many challenge games in the last few weeks and we have really upped the training.

"That's where Waterford have the advantage. Whether it's a major advantage or not I'm not sure but it is some bit of an advantage. Division 1B is that bit slower."

Cork are expected to name their team tomorrow night, with speculation that dual player Damien Cahalane may be named in defence.

Irish Independent

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