Cork must raise intensity for battle with Kingdom
BY KIERAN McCARTHY
MARTINA O’Brien feels it’s time for Cork to get physical.
The Rebel goalkeeper believes the reigning Munster and All-Ireland champions need to increase their intensity level for Saturday’s provincial clash against Kerry in Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney (6pm throw-in).
Given that both counties surprisingly lost to Waterford in recent weeks, the winner of Saturday’s round three senior championship game will advance to the Munster final to face the Déise
It’s winner-take-all, and coming off the 3-11 to 1-11 loss to Waterford, Ballinascarthy’s O’Brien (27) admits Cork need to up their game against the old enemy.
‘Against Waterford our intensity and our drive to want the ball and get on the ball wasn’t as high as it should have been,’ O’Brien said.
‘We know we have the skill and the ability but for some reason we didn’t have that want to have the ball. We usually bring a high-intensity approach, we were well able to bring that intensity during the league and in the league final, too, but it didn’t work out for us against Waterford.
‘They were aggressive to every ball, they wanted it more. They outplayed us, they outmuscled us and they played with a lot higher intensity than us.
‘We were disappointed with that, usually we can bring the intensity to a game but we didn’t and we were punished. It wasn’t that one or two of us were lacking, it was everyone.
‘As a panel we need to look at that as the most important part for Saturday, the need to bring that intensity.’
In recent weeks O’Brien, who lived and worked in Tralee for a number of years, has moved back home to Ballinascarthy and has opened up her own practice, Martina O’Brien Massage Therapy that works out of Hair By Mar in the village.
Having been beyond enemy lines in the Kingdom for almost five years – she started her own massage therapy business there, Vitality Massage – she has seen the Cork-Kerry rivalry from both sides.
Cork beat Kerry 2-8 to 0-7 in last year’s Munster final in Killarney having lost to them in the opening round of the championship, and in the process dethroning the Kingdom who had won the 2015 provincial title after beating Cork 2-13 to 2-4 in Mallow.
‘They hate losing to us. We hate losing to them. It’s a healthy rivalry,’ O’Brien said.
‘For the last few years we’ve played a lot and they’ve beaten us in Munster and we’ve come back to beat them in the All-Ireland series. It’s always a battle and we know each other so well, too.
‘It’s a game that doesn’t need any motivation.
‘Kerry are in the same position as us, they want to get to the Munster final as much as we do. I think they are nearly the hardest team to beat.
‘The reality is that we lost one game, we’re still in the championship, we have another chance and we need to work really hard on Saturday to get the win we want.’
• To contact Martina O’Brien Massage Therapy ring Martina on 086-8683300 or email [email protected]