BY MARTIN WALSH
THE latest inductee to the West Cork Sports Star Hall of Fame, Kevin Jer O’Sullivan, is urging for a return to the basics in order to begin the resurgence of the Cork senior football team.
The attacking half back and winner of Munster, Railway Cup and All-Ireland medals reckons that the game is being coached out of a lot of the players.
Emotional during his acceptance of the Hall of Fame award, the All-Star winning defender was somewhat more relaxed in the Celtic Ross Hotel foyer as he outlined the shortcomings within Cork GAA and offered hope, albeit, if not in the near future.
‘Firstly, there are too many senior teams. Not just because it was in my time, but we had six junior teams in Beara – now we have two – those matches were at a much higher level than many of the current senior games are now,’ Adrigole great Kevin Jer said.
‘We have to come up with a plan that all these senior teams that are not fit to be senior should he playing in a division, let it be at junior or intermediate, they will have a better future there.’
‘I speak to Mick O’Connell quite a lot and recently he told me that if Cork and Kerry were playing in the field in front of his house he wouldn’t go to see it due to the amount of hand passing.’
Whatever the views on the hand pass Kevin Jer espoused, ‘There should be no such thing as passing the ball back.’
So where has it gone wrong?
‘More players should be able to express themselves in their own training and I think that fitness and training is totally overdone. They are only amateur players and it’s an impossibility for any player to play the game today and have a job,’ he said.
The immediate future according to Kevin Jer doesn’t offer confidence.
‘On what I saw last year and the previous year, I am a bit disillusioned in the way we approach it, the way in how the players put a Cork jersey on and not go out and play their heart out. We have players that go out and after 20 minutes they are ready to throw in the towel. In my day, you died on the field. You didn’t have the same training methods but we had heart,’ he said.
Not afraid to express his opinion, Kevin Jer went on, ‘I think the day has come – and I hope I am wrong – that putting on a Cork jersey is no longer the same thing it was back in our day. If you put a Cork jersey on, you wore it with pride.’
In trying to find hope, he opined, ‘Everybody tells me there is talent there. The breakdown, as I see it, comes when players leave U16. They go to minor and are coached in a different way, that is where I see the mistakes.
‘I just hope that they will come to terms with that, if they don’t football is in a dire straight. If you have the basics right, you won’t go far wrong but the basics are not right in Cork football.’