BARRING the Nemo Rangers players and injury absentees Seán Powter and Aidan Walsh – who could be out until May – Cork coach Ronan McCarthy expects to have a full squad for Sunday’s Allianz FL Division 2 clash with Cavan.
A fortnight ago, at home to Louth, McCarthy and his management opted to rest the players who had been involved with UCC in the Sigerson Cup.
Victory was achieved, but McCarthy admits that it was a risk.
‘It was a very difficult decision,’ he says, ‘and one that we put an awful lot of thought into.
‘The danger from our point of view was that we had won against Down, who had beaten Louth and Louth had been hammered by Cavan, what you don’t want is the message getting across to players that we were taking the game for granted, which we weren’t.
‘We had to do the right thing by the players, they had played the bones of four games in ten days and it would have been irresponsible for us to put them out again.
‘We did the right thing by the players and we got away with it, but it’s not something you’d be hoping to do every week.’
This Sunday, it’s back to Páirc Uí Chaoimh, where Cork lost to Tipperary by six points in their league opener. Any mental baggage?
‘Not that I’m aware of,’ McCarthy says, ‘and if there are, they’d want to be gotten over fairly quickly!
‘It takes a while for a team to establish itself in a new stadium, we’ve seen that across the water with soccer teams and so on, but at the end of the day, you have to get over that.
‘If you can’t perform at home, you’re in big trouble.’
‘Performing’ is the key word, as Cork have tended to drift in and out of games over the past few years.
McCarthy has seen encouraging signs so far this year, and marrying them together is the key.
‘We’re looking to put together a big performance in that we’ve had a fairly mixed bag,’ he says.
‘Obviously, the Tipp game, we played quite well going forward, we were positive in how we played but maybe we were defensively quite open.
‘Down was a very solid performance defensively, we put 1-13 up but probably weren’t as fluid going forward as against Tipperary.
‘The Louth match was some very good stuff mixed with some very poor stuff. From our point of view, we’re looking for a more balanced performance, to bring the defensive solidity of the Down game with the positive creative element we had against Tipperary.’