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22nd Apr 2024

Donal Óg Cusack says only four Cork players were ‘positives’ in loss to Waterford


Jackie Tyrrell says that ‘serious questions’ have to be asked of Cork after their disappointing loss to Waterford on Sunday.

Cork were favourites heading into the game having impressed in patches throughout the League but they didn’t hurl to their potential, and were eventually beaten by three points.

Indiscipline was a feature of Cork’s display with Ciaran Joyce’s black card to go with Damien Cahalane’s red reducing them to thirteen men at one stage of the game.

Four of Cork’s six starting forwards were taken off in the game, as a sign of their struggles in attack, while, in defence, questions have been asked by The Sunday Game’s pundits about the solidity of their defensive spine.

“Serious questions have to be asked of this Cork team,” said Tyrrell.

“It looked like the Cork of four or five years ago. The same problems, the same issue at three, the same lack of aggression at times, poor defending.

“You know, they had three forwards that started the 2013 All-Ireland (playing against Waterford)…and still looking for them to carry the can…”

“All these young lads, where are they, I don’t really know. Serious questions for Pat Ryan this week.”

“For Cork, where do they go? The thing I couldn’t understand was Alan Connolly was outstanding today, but we didn’t see him in the first half, they didn’t give him the ball.

“They are in a bit of a predicament. It’s almost do-or-die next week,” added Tyrrell.

Former Cork goalkeeper Donal Óg Cusack said that only four of Cork’s returned positives for Cork on the day.

“All of the old questions about the core of this Cork team have returned.

“We haven’t sorted out the spine, especially at full back,” said Óg Cusack.

” Today wasn’t Ciaran Joyce’s finest hour at centre back, I think Waterford did a seriously good number on him.

“Outside of Darragh Fitzgibbon, Shane Barrett, Alan Connolly and maybe Sean O’Donoghue in defence, there were very, very few positives for Cork.”

On the flip side, Óg Cusack felt praise was due for Davy Fitzgerald for how Waterford performed in the game.

“It’s worth saying about Davy,” added the Cork man, who worked as a selector under Fitzgerald during a spell with Clare.

“He was under the gun today.

21 April 2024; Waterford manager Davy Fitzgerald, right, and selector Peter Queally celebrate at the final whistle of the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 1 match between Waterford and Cork at Walsh Park in Waterford. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

“The guns were being lined up for him both in Waterford and elsewhere but fair play to him, he’s got a fantastic record. People were pigeon-holing him, that he can only play the game a certain way.

“The Clare 2013 team weren’t defensive.

“A couple of teams in between that did have a defensive style but Waterford were far from defensive today so on a personal note for him, it’s a huge achievement.'”

The win was only Waterford’s third in seventeen Munster round-robin games and while their form was poor in the National League, Jackie Tyrrell said the ‘backs to the wall’ mantra suited Fitzgerald’s team down to the ground.

“A huge win. They were completely written off,” said Tyrrell.

“There were a lot of murmurings locally. Ticket sales were poor, but that all fed into the psychology of Davy Fitzgerald.

“He circled the troops. And you could see it in the performance today. There was anger and passion in it, very intense, they ran from deep at Cork. They should have won by five, six or seven points for me.

“It was completely different to how they set up in the League, and in fairness to Davy, he said it’s all about championship and they delivered on the first round today.”

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