LiveGaelic.com » Cork will Crack the Donegal Code

23 Aug

Cork will Crack the Donegal Code

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Posted by Joe Sheridan in The Joe Show | Aug 2012

This week sees the end of nine weeks of the GAA Cul Camps that I’ve been involved in this year. Over the nine weeks myself and some of the players from the Meath Senior and Ladies panels have been lucky enough to work with three or four thousand kids from all sorts of backgrounds, and I have to say it’s been great to be involved in. The response to the camps has been phenomenal, and all the coaches are delighted to be able to give something back to the kids.

Coaching all the young players after a tough year is a brilliant way to put the game into perspective, because seeing them all enjoying learning the skills and enjoying playing really reminds you why we do it ourselves, and that’s simply because we just love playing football as well.

Fair play to Dudley Farrell for organising the whole thing and to all the volunteers who helped out taking the kids every day – these are the people that nobody really sees but they’re what the GAA is all about.

Hopefully all the kids will be looking forward to coming along again next year – with the way the clubs have been suffering lately getting as many kids involved as possible can only be a positive for the Association.

Looking back at the quarter final matches from a couple of weeks ago, the first thing to say is that obviously I was fairly wrong on the Donegal one. I must admit I did think Kerry would overcome them but they played their system very well. I was really impressed with the level of pressure they put on Kerry and how they didn’t show them any respect and there’s no doubt that they deserved their win.

For Kerry, I think it was a case that all the players they’ve lost over the last few years eventually caught up with them, with the likes of Dara O’Se, Mike McCarthy, Tommy Walsh, Tom O’Sullivan, Tadgh Kennelly and Mike Quirke all gone. That’s some amount of players to have lost, and maybe then strength in the squad was a problem, with the guys coming off the bench not as strong as they would have been a few years ago.

The team I was really impressed with was Cork. After we beat Kildare they got back into the qualifiers and were starting to show a bit of the form that saw them rated as one of the top four or five in the country at the start of the year, and for Cork to do that to a team that are supposedly that good was a serious performance. Everyone always talks about Cork as being a big, strong team but I was amazed at the skill levels they showed all over the pitch. They had three tough frees in the first half and three different free takers stepped up and kicked them over off the ground, Donnacha O’Connor, Colm O’Neill and even Aidan Walsh who would really be seen as a more physical presence.

Kildare to be honest just got blown away. It was a bit like our game against Dublin where a couple of quick goals killed it off really. It’s a hard result on lads like Johnny Doyle and Dermot Earley that have been around the panel for years, but it just shows yet again that you have to go out and be ready to do the business every single day. There’s nowhere to hide at this level.
Donegal against Cork is going to be a serious battle. Donegal are so hard to play against and break down. They do everything as a team, attacking together, defending together, harrying the man on the ball. When you come under that level of pressure you start to make wrong decisions and considering how few frees they give away in the scoring zone it’ll be a tough ask for Cork.

The thing about Cork is that their strength in depth in the forward line is massive, and if it’s not working for any of the six starters you know there’s a guy just as good as him on the bench to come on and take his place. Graham Canty’s performance against Kildare was unbelievable, driving the rest of the team on from centre-back. He really needs to repeat that Sunday because the rest of the team respond to his leadership massively.

Kerry got caught in possession around the ‘D’ against Donegal and gave up turnovers, Cork will need to avoid that by carrying on from where they left off against Kildare, kicking the ball and kicking scores from long distance. If you can draw Donegal out by kicking these long range scores you create space for the lads inside and that could be the key to opening them up.

That’s all easier said than done though with Jimmy McGuinness against you on the sideline. Since he took over the under-21s a couple of years ago he’s been a revelation as a manager and he’s carried that on to Senior level as well. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in his dressing room and see how he motivates the players, how he comes up with his gameplans and how he goes about putting it across to his players.

In a way, this game is a very interesting clash of managerial styles. Conor Counihan is a very relaxed kind of guy, always talks everything down and talks about the improvements they need to make. McGuinness on the other side is very positive and very intense – even on the sideline you can see how concentrated and animated he gets. That’s how this game is going to pan out as well with two very different philosophies coming up against one another on the pitch.

This is a game that’s completely on a knife-edge and it’s going to be very tight, but with a gun to my head if I had to call it I’d say Cork to get it done by no more than three.

On a final note I want to wish the Meath Minor team all the best in their All Ireland semi-final against Mayo on Sunday. This is a very strong Meath team and they have a great chance of making the final. Having lost to Dublin in the Leinster final it would be easy to write these lads off, but I know from my own days at that level that they’ve still got the potential to make it to the showpiece game (by deborah). Back in 2002 we were very disappointed after being beaten in the Leinster final by Longford, but we dusted ourselves off and got ourselves into the final. Even though we didn’t manage to get the win it just goes to show how you can bounce back after a defeat, and I give this Meath team every chance of doing one better than we did a decade ago.

Come on the Royal!

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