CORK minor football manager Bobbie O’Dwyer is briefing his young charges to be ready for a ‘totally different style of football’ when they meet Monaghan in Sunday’s All-Ireland MFC quarter-final in Tullamore at 6pm.
The young Rebels’ reward for contesting the Munster final this year is a place in the last eight and a winner-take-all battle against Ulster champions Monaghan.
Cork played Monaghan in a challenge game earlier this year so that’s a help to both teams ahead of the clash in Tullamore, and it was also an eye-opener to Cork players who haven’t come up against Ulster sides in the past.
‘It’s a totally different style of football,’ O’Dwyer told The Southern Star.
‘We saw that when we played them earlier on in the year, they were quite defensive but they transition then very quickly so you have to be prepared for that.
‘There is no comparison when you’re preparing to play a Munster team like Kerry to an Ulster team like Monaghan, it’s quite different. You have to adjust your game plans.’
O’Dwyer added: ‘We had a look at Monaghan in the Ulster final, as well as the challenge game earlier on in the year, so we know a bit about them. They are a big, strong, physical team who were well the better side in the Ulster final but they didn’t convert all their chances.
‘They will be tough opponents and they will have the confidence coming off winning Ulster as well.’
Monaghan will be battle-hardened having come through five games to win Ulster. It started off with a preliminary round win against Down (1-13 to 1-10) before beating Antrim (0-6 to 1-2), Tyrone (3-8 to 0-13), Donegal (5-10 to 2-11) and they defeated Tyrone again in the Ulster final, 1-13 to 1-11.
Cork, meanwhile, are coming into this quarter-final with one win in three Munster games. Defeats against Kerry book-end a victory over Clare (3-9 to 0-14), but it’s the manner of the Munster final performance against Kerry, who won 3-14 to 2-14, that offers encouragement. When the counties met in early May, Kerry won 3-19 to 1-9, yet only three points separated the two in the provincial final. It was a huge improvement in a short timeframe.
‘It’s a strange feeling. The performance from the players in the Munster final was outstanding. They played really well. Like any competitive game, one or two mistakes can cost you, especially against a team like Kerry who will hurt you if you make mistakes,’ O’Dwyer says.
‘Ours is a results-game too and while the result isn’t what we were looking forward, the performance was. The players did what they were asked. If we can keep those performances going, the results will look after themselves.’
This young Cork team is moving in the right direction after a shaky start and the new round-robin format in Munster means they will finish this season with a minimum of four championship games compared to two in total last year after they lost the provincial semi-final to Kerry.