CORK selector Ciarán O’Sullivan is demanding a performance from the Rebels against Tyrone on Saturday evening.
The Urhan man wants to see a huge improvement in intensity, hunger and work-rate from Cork’s awful Munster final performance when they shipped a 17-point loss to Kerry.
But if Cork can get the better of Mickey Harte’s side in Portlaoise on Saturday, then they will be in the Super 8s so there’s a big prize on offer for the winner.
‘Everyone was extremely disappointed after the Kerry match, naturally enough, but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves, we have to go for it again on Saturday,’ O’Sullivan said.
‘It’s great to get the results but it’s also about the performance. Sometimes you might not get the result but you actually perform very well – you fight, you work hard, you create chances.
‘Of course you want to win the game but personally I want a performance because I know these lads and I know they can do it. I want them to give it everything they have, work their socks off and give a performance.
‘If they perform to their ability they are good enough to win on Saturday night. But they have to perform on the field.
‘Bottom line, the team that wants it the most and is prepared to work the hardest will win this game.’
O’Sullivan admits too that Cork need a much-improved showing in the middle of the park. They were over-run here against Kerry. It wasn’t good enough.
‘We started relatively well but Kerry seemed to get a grip around the middle area, not just midfield but that entire area including half backs and half forwards,’ O’Sullivan said.
‘Kerry were winning that breaking ball and we didn’t win enough breaks. If you’re not winning clean ball then you have to start getting in under the breaks – but we didn’t win enough around there.
‘We lost a lot of our own possession too around that area, and Kerry capitalised.’
Raised aggression levels for the win-or-bust game against Tyrone is also a must.
‘We did it against Tipp, we brought a performance to the pitch, but we didn’t bring enough of that hunger, aggression and toughness around the middle to the Munster final,’ O’Sullivan said.
‘Give Kerry credit, they played well, they bossed us around the middle, they turned us over 19 times in the first half alone so we came out with the ball and they took it off us. It shows they were sharper and hungrier in that area, and we need to bring that to the table on Saturday night.
‘We have to give ourselves a chance. Things will get tough at a certain point in every game and that’s when you have to get stuck in – win possession, hold on to the ball, work the ball, work for each other. I know we can do it. I’ve seen enough of them. People outside wouldn’t have seen it and I can understand why they question it, that’s only natural.
‘I want to see that on Saturday night, we need a big performance against Tyrone because you will not beat them otherwise.’