|Has there ever been so much pessimism amongst Cork Hurling supporters than there is at the moment for the do or die fixture against Galway on Saturday night. Readers and Contributors of this Website are at 60/40 against Cork making it to Croke Park. The last time the Cork Hurlers failed to make it to headquarters for a knockout game was in 2002 as a result to a lack lustre defeat to Galway. This defeat marked a low point for many of the younger generation of Cork supporters ant it was a day that brought a lot of things to a head in terms of how future Cork Teams would be treated by the Cork County Board.
This game was the second of a double header involving the Cork footballers drawing with Tipperary in a Munster Football Final with Diarmuid O’Sullivan coming on a second half substitute for Larry Tompkins men. The fifteen that started against Galway featured a Midfield of Alan Cummins and Neil Ronan, it also had Alan Browne at Centre Forward and Eamonn Collins at Full Forward and Timmy McCarthy sent off in the second half. One of the Selectors that day was current Wexford Manager John Meyler, the defeat also spelt the end of Bertie og Murphy’s reign as Cork Manager.
Never have Galway gone in to a game with Cork as such raging hot favourites. The Tribesmen record against Cork is very poor particularly in All Ireland Finals but they have ambushed Cork on numerous other occasions. Games that spring to mind are the All Ireland Semi Finals of 1975, 1979 and 1985. The game in 1985 will be remembered for monsoon conditions in which it was played in. It featured Galway Full Forward Noel Lane exposing Johnny Crowley,s lack of mobility and taking him for a tour of the Croke Park pitch. That game featured Jimmy Barry Murphy coming on as a late substitute due to having broken a few ribs playing for the Barrs against Castlehaven in the Cork County Football Championship. The defeat also spelt the end of Justin McCarthys reign as Cork Manager.
Cork are quoted at 6/4 to win on Saturday night and 7/2 to win by 1-3 points. Why are Cork supporters such pessimistic about the teams chances on Saturday night. The pessimism resembles Cork v Tipp in 1990 which will always be remembered as the “Donkeys Don’t Win Derbies” quote from Babs Keating. It is well agreed that this team is coming to the end of its cycle but can they raise it once more to earn themselves a Quarter Final spot and a chance to bow out in Croke Park. While many would have preferred to be facing Waterford as they may fear Cork more than Galway would and also the Deise men have roughly the same mileage as Cork on the clock.
The selection of team this year has had more talking points than ever before and the debate continues whether the Selectors should be playing the tried and trusted or go with younger fresher players. The Selectors went for new faces against Tipp and it did not work out and they reverted to type for the Dublin game. Although they got a result on the whole it was not a promising performance by some of the senior members of the squad.
The rumour mill is working overtime on rumours of discontent with the management and players, particularly over the style of hurling the team is playing. Lots of fans are concerned about a potential clash between Diarmuid O’Sullivan and Joe Canning and what that could lead to. Many fans on this website have been calling for Ronan Curran to be moved to the Full Back position, if a change is needed hopefully it will be made by the selectors sooner rather than later in the game. The rest of the defence and the midfield picks itself however, the Selectors must be very perplexed on how to pick the six forwards for the game against Galway.
It amazes lots of people that Partick Horgan is not starting on Saturday. A case has been made that he has a lack of experience at this level but what experience did fellow Glen Rovers player John Fitzgibbon have in 1986 when thrown in at the deep end against Clare in a Munster Final scoring a goal. The lack of game time Kieran Murphy from Sars is getting is also puzzling considering how effective he was last year. While this mangement team seems to favour a more direct game than the running game without a physical full forward line, this seems not possible. One wonders too why Niall McCarthy or even Kieran Murphy from Erins Own have not been tried out at number 14.
To win this game you would feel Cork would have to take the game to Galway from the throw in and also try to expose Galway’s weakness in the full back position with maybe Ben O’Connor as the match winner in the full forward line.
The heart says Cork to win but the head says Galway but if the players and management can put their rumoured differences to one side and go out and give it one real go, who knows there may be in one final kick in this side which gave us so many proud moments since 1999.