The Cork and Watetord rivalry is nothing new. 2002 to 2007 wrote an enticing chapter in a great rivalry. While the 2014 to present day edition has not reached the same heights yet, something special remains when it comes to Cork and Waterford.
The stakes this Sunday are massive. A place in an All-Ireland final is lucrative and the opponents that lie in wait, Galway, are an opposition that neither Cork or Waterford will fear in the slightest. That increases the stakes for both sides and Cork selector Diarmuid O’Sullivan is being very respectful towards Cork’s opponents on Sunday.
Speaking to Pundit Arena, the man known as The Rock had plenty to say when asked about Waterford’s strengths;
“I think their goalkeeper (Stephen O’Keeffe) for a start. They have a really really good goalkeeper, not just his shot stepping, his distribution is excellent. We need to cut that down. Especially when they have numbers at the back, they give him back a lot of ball, we need to cut that down early”.
With Waterford adopting the much-scrutinised sweeper system in their last few games. O’Sullivan spoke about Cork’s thoughts of counteracting the Waterford tactics. They will plan to focus on themselves, but they will have their preparation in order;
“Obviously, if they go with the sweeper, its going to be an issue for us. You have to use the ball really well. You have to have comfortbale hurlers with speed”.
Finally the three time All-Ireland winner mentioned many names when asked which Waterford players would provide the biggest threat to the Rebels on Sunday;
“Austin Gleeson, Young Hurler of the Year, Hurler of the Year, excecptional talent. ‘Brick’ Walsh in the half-forward line. Kevin Moran, they have a wealth of experience. The young Bennett’s, speed merchants. They can cause a lot of trouble”.
What was clear from the former full-backs words is that Cork are fully focused on themselves and are looking ahead to Sunday’s game in full knowledge that Munster success is very much in the past. Sunday is the beginning of the All-Ireland series for Cork, and a new challenge presents itself against Waterford.
Diarmuid O’Sullivan was speaking to Trevor Welch alongside Cork City manager John Caulfield in an interview recorded by Pundit Arena in association with Reardens. Listen to the full interview on the Pundit Arena Facebook page.
Our team also discussed the Cork and Waterford match on this week’s edition of The 16th Man.