Cork scraped past Waterford by a single point in the Fraher Field, Dungarvan on Saturday in the Munster SFC quarter-final, eventually coming out victorious on a scoreline of 1-12 to 1-11.
The Rebels have come in for some heavy criticism of late with their stock continuing to fall with each passing season since their Sam Maguire Cup win in 2010.
Coming off the back of an underwhelming campaign in 2016, failing to reach the All Ireland quarter-final stage having lost to Tipperary in Munster and after a disappointing league campaign this spring, where they failed to secure promotion from division 2 and entered the final round of games still not fully safe from relegation, the team needed to lay down a commanding marker against the Déise yesterday. Their performance did nothing to turn their fortunes around.
Cork went into the game as heavy favourites, expected to comfortably dispatch of Waterford en route to a Munster semi-final with Tipperary. Following their uninspiring showing which leaves a lot to be desired going forward, Kerry legend Tomás Ó Sé took aim at their management team on The Sunday Game last night.
Ó Sé stated that the players looked “like a team that’s like a herd of sheep going into a field for the first time and cutting loose around the place.”
The five-time Celtic cross winner with the Kingdom insists that the Leesiders should be feeding off the underage success in the county of recent years and that the young players that are available for selection to the county are good enough to improve the team.
The buck stops at Peadar Healy’s doorstep, in his opinion.
“You talk in GAA in football about tactics and passion and belief… confidence. This Cork team hasn’t been playing with that for the last two years.
“The players, I feel, are there. I’m playing club football in Cork. I’ve seen the players and with the underage they have produced in the last… they have won 10 under-21 titles in the last 14 years in Munster. There is some problem between under-21 and senior level.
“I don’t for the life of me understand how Cork can’t blend a team.”
The RTÉ pundit proceeded to slate the Rebels and get into what is fundamentally going wrong for the county in terms of big ball success.
“The job of the management is to have a team tactically ready. Waterford parked the bus and Cork looked as though they were playing a defensive team for the first time in their lives.
“They are capable of putting up big performances but they are so few and far between.
“I do think the management have a lot to answer for. They are in charge, they need to lead, they need to instill confidence.
“People in Cork are disgusted with the way things are turning out.”
Healy and his backroom team must shoulder the blame for the lacklustre showings on the pitch of the past couple of seasons, according to the former An Ghaeltacht clubman who now plies his trade with Nemo Rangers in Cork. But why was he appointed in the first place?
“I have no doubt that Peadar Healy and his management are good GAA men but I’m not sure are they up to the job of leading this team.
“It would be something different if you said they definitely don’t have the players, they definitely don’t have the talent but that’s not true, they do have the players coming through,” Ó Sé said.
“I think the county board have a lot to answer for. You put people in these positions, you get results after it. I think there is a lot of work to be done in the short term and long term.”
Comparing this current Rebel outfit to those of the glory years gone by, the Kerryman was keen to drive home his point:
“You look back at years gone and what Billy Morgan did with teams and the way he inspried them. I don’t think they are inspired.
“There’s no organisation or anything there and it’s sad.”
These are grim times for football followers on Leeside, but in saying that, despite the well below par display on Saturday, Cork did come away with a win and have a provincial semi-final against The Premier to look forward to on June 10th. While widely acknowledged that a gross improvement is required to come near to competing with the likes of Kerry, Mayo, Donegal and Dublin again in the latter stages of the championship, all hope is not lost in the county. Yet.