TOMÁS Ó Sé feels Cork get ‘too bogged down’ by their results in the national football league.
The former Kerry footballer and current Sunday Game anaylst – whose new autobiography, White Heat, is earning lots of positive reviews – made headlines for his criticism of Cork’s senior footballers under Brian Cuthbert’s regime earlier this year, branding them ‘rudderless’.
It’s a criticism that he feels was justified the way it all ended for Cuthbert and Cork during the summer – that All-Ireland qualifier defeat to Kildare in June.
While Cork have a new manager now in Peadar Healy, Ó Sé, a primary school teacher in Fermoy, has advised the Rebels to focus on the championship and use the league as a stepping stone.
‘I think it’s a weaker side of Cork that they might take what happens in the league too much to heart and it affects them too much. That shouldn’t affect them at all,’ Ó Sé said.
‘They need to set out goals in what they want to achieve. If the league goes well or bad, so be it, but it’s done, parked in the past.
‘It needs to be about the championship. That’s what Kerry do. They get what they want out of the national league. Getting to a league semi-final is what it is, not getting to a league semi-final isn’t the end of the world. If you do well, it’s a bonus and you get a couple of more games, but the league is about finding players for the championship. If you unearth one or two, all well and good.
‘For Cork it has to be all about the championship, they get too bogged down by the league and its results. To me it seems like it affects them then going into the championship. The championship is the championship and that’s what they need to aim for.’
Playing his club football with Nemo Rangers, and after picking up a Cork SFC winner’s medal lately, and working in Cork for 15 years, Ó Sé has watched the goings-on in Rebel football closer than most.
Yes, he believes Cork have the talent to slug it out for the big prizes, but he has repeated his call for the team’s big players to stand up and be counted. Consistency is still a big problem for Cork, he added.
‘If Cork don’t win a Munster or go well in the All-Ireland series then that’s a disappointment for the county because of the standards that they have set themselves,’ the former Kerry All-Ireland winner said.
‘There is a good team there. I questioned their management last season and I thought I was justified in what I was saying. They didn’t perform for the management that they had. They put in a huge performance against Kerry in Killarney but they couldn’t back it up. They failed abysmally against Kildare.
‘It’s very hard to say where they stand. I do think with the correct management that Cork have the talent to put it up to any county in the country. But – and it’s a huge but – they need their management team to lead and they need their big men to stand up more than they are. That’s what Cork need, that their management steps up and gets the most out of the players consistently.
‘Consistency is Cork’s problem. Yes, they put in a great performance against Kerry in the drawn Munster final, and they should have won that game, but they need to back it up. They need to go again with the same attitude, desire and hunger – but they are not doing that.’