Legend says Cork need confidence boost
BY KIERAN McCARTHY
GRAHAM Canty’s not the type to hurt a man when he’s down and neither is he the type to twist the knife on his former teammates – but the Bantry man does admit that Cork’s senior footballers need to claim a big scalp to help turn things around.
If you’re looking for a man to provide a damning headline on the ongoing woes of the county footballers, then Canty is not your man. He doesn’t see any merit in that.
What Cork need now, the Leeside legend explains, is encouragement, not to be dragged over burning coals.
This Saturday evening (7pm), Peadar Healy’s side begin their Munster SFC campaign with a quarter-final against Waterford in Fraher Field, Dungarvan, and he’s confident the Rebels will pass the Déise challenge while agreeing they also need to take a big scalp soon to give them the lift they need.
‘The league should be a distant memory for these guys and the earlier you start in the championship, the better,’ Canty told The Southern Star at the recent Captain’s Couch fundraiser for St Finbarr’s Boys NS held at the Westlodge Hotel in Bantry.
‘Having an early game allows you the chance to build some momentum and Cork need that because they aren’t coming off the back of any consistent form in the league; the Waterford game has to be their only focus right now.
‘First and foremost, they need a win against Waterford, they need to get off to a good start, but they’ll also want a performance that they can build on for the next test. Individually they will all want to perform well to try and keep their spots.’
Canty feels a lack of confidence is the reason for the Rebels current struggles after a poor league campaign in Division 2.
‘It’s to do with confidence at the moment,’ the Bantry legend said.
‘The most consistent teams play with confidence and it’s no coincidence then that they are successful. But if you don’t have the results under your belt it’s a lot harder to have that confidence. If you get the results a lot of time the performances will follow.
‘If you are struggling, it’s a big help if you can take a major scalp and that’s what I think this Cork team needs, to beat a big team. That can really energise a group and help them grow.
‘Small things can change a season, and if you’re struggling for consistency and belief those small things can make or break you.’
There is the possibility of a Cork v Kerry Munster SFC final in the new-look Páirc Uí Chaoimh in early July but Canty’s not convinced the lure of that is an extra incentive for the Rebel footballers.
‘I don’t know. I thought about that myself. If I was playing now and in that position, I don’t think that would be an incentive for me. The prize of playing in a Munster final is big enough irrespective of where it’s on. Playing in the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh would be great but playing in a Munster final is massive on its own. I don’t think the thought of playing there in a Munster final is an extra incentive, an extra spur. It would be nice, of course. But it’s not the main motivating factor,’ Canty said.