JOE Brolly feels that the Cork senior football team is ‘lost’, ‘disorganised’ and ‘demoralised’.
The Rebels were left reeling after last Sunday’s shock Allianz Football League Division 2 defeat away to Clare (2-11 to 0-9), a result that has hugely damaged Cork’s promotion ambitions and instead leaves them in a battle to avoid relegation.
Clare’s win was their first against Cork in the league since 1994 – and the abject Cork performance has heightened growing concerns as the team continues to slide.
RTÉ GAA pundit Brolly (pictured) believes that the team is lacking structure and he points the finger of blame at the management team.
‘There is no logical structure from the defence to the attack,’ Brolly told The Southern Star.
‘I’m not fully privy to all the goings-on in Cork GAA – but it’s not that difficult to organise a team.
‘The basic problem, I think, is that this Cork team seems disorganised, and when you are disorganised inevitably that leads to every man having a go himself because there is no structure or proper organisation that is working.
‘In turn what happens then is that a team becomes demoralised. I have seen exactly the same process happen in Derry over the last five years; the team is well funded and there are a lot of resources pumped into the team but slowly and surely, it’s disintegrated to the point where we’re at our lowest ever ebb.
‘It seems to me, watching Cork now that they’re a bit like that. There is no structure in the team itself. That comes back to the management.’
Brolly believes that Cork manager Peadar Healy and his management team are now under severe pressure to turn things around.
He feels that the lack of a structure is leading to ‘chaos’ on the field, and he contrasts Cork’s current predicament to the game plan and structure that All-Ireland champions Dublin possess.
‘Cork are lost, they don’t know how they want to play,’ Brolly said.
‘No manager can do anything during the 70 minutes of a game so what you end up with is a team where the system is illogical. What you’re watching with Cork now is illogical.
‘I’ll give you an example: if Cork build a lead, they can’t hold it, it evaporates very quickly. As a game changes Cork don’t know how to respond to the phases of a game.
‘It becomes a vicious circle because there is no structure. What happens is that players know whenever a team isn’t properly organised because they don’t feel confident and they don’t feel confident that they know their role and they see that things aren’t working. Then a player tries too hard to overcompensate and they do things that they shouldn’t be doing.
‘Once it becomes every man for himself, it becomes chaos because there is no team structure. As soon as you hit a patch of adversity, the team goes into panic because they can’t hold the line.
‘Losing to Clare shows confidence is at rock bottom, that stems from the chaotic structure and the lack of a real structure, so when they hit a patch of adversity it’s just panic.
‘When the Dubs go six or seven points behind they don’t panic because they know how they are going to recover the game and how they are going to play. They have confidence in the game plan and confidence in each other. There are clear guidelines for the players and the players are happy and they’re performing.
‘You could throw six or seven of those Dublin players into the Cork team and it would be an equal mess; it wouldn’t help at all.’