HERE’S a taster of this week’s Star Sport Podcast preview of Cork’s Division 2 football league campaign.
What can the returning Brian O’Driscoll add to the Cork football squad this year?
MICHEÁL O’SULLIVAN: Brian has had three fantastic games (in the McGrath Cup), he is bringing different aspects to Cork’s game that they were missing; they were running the ball hard and were afraid to put the ball in on top of the D. Against Limerick there were four or five occasions when Cork turned over the ball and there was long, fast and accurate ball delivered into the forward line. It mixes up the game, speeds up Cork and will improve Cork.
The Cork inside line looks quite dangerous now – a reason for optimism?
DIARMUID DUGGAN: The ability of the inside forwards is so dependent on the speed of the ball coming in. That has been a difference in these McGrath Cup games: the speed of transition from defence to attack. For the last few years Cork were laborious, playing the ball sideways without having intent to go forward, but now they are constantly probing forward, with Sean Powter at centre forward adding that pace, breaking a tackle and the space opens up. The ball is going in much quicker.
Sean Powter at centre forward. Thoughts?
MICHEÁL O’SULLIVAN: He was there against Kerry and against Limerick. He draws attention and is man-marked. We saw Tadhg Morley sitting back on top of the D last year for Kerry, covering his full back line and letting the centre forward go out. Kerry must have felt that they had to mark Powter and the big gap behind Morley was there all day, and there were numerous goal chances created from the space opening up. Powter is still the talisman, if he gets injured it will be a huge blow. The opposition fears him. It’s important he stays fit all the way through the league.
The Cork footballer you are most excited to see in the league?
MICHEÁL O’SULLIVAN: Conor Corbett – He was a fantastic underage player, has filled out a lot, played well against Kerry, and had looked like he could be the next big thing before he got injured. I am hoping he gets a lot of game time in the league. There is a wing forward position up for grabs.
DIARMUID DUGGAN: Sean Meehan – He was injured for a lot of last year but he is a quality player, incredibly exciting, and would get on any county team in the country. Where do you play him? The full back line or at centre back?