Rebels need to up intensity for must-win Louth showdown

May 26th, 2023 5:00 PM

By Kieran McCarthy

Cork's Brian Hurley stays close to Louth's Dan Corcoran during their 2022 All-Ireland SFC qualifier at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

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FORMER Cork footballer – and Southern Star columnist – Micheál O’Sullivan wants to see the Rebels bring a higher level of intensity to Saturday’s showdown with Louth.

There was widespread disappointment after the Rebels’ meek 0-14 to 0-13 Munster SFC quarter-final loss to April last month, and O’Sullivan wants to see a response in the Group 1 encounter against Louth in Navan.

‘We have all played and been there, that terrible feeling of putting in all that work and then not producing on the day; that’s a killer. All you are waiting to do is to get back out and show that you are better than you showed,’ the Carbery Rangers man told this week’s Star Sport Podcast.

‘This squad of players is definitely far better than what they showed in Ennis. I have no doubt that John Cleary, Kevin Walsh and the rest of them will have been driving that on, saying “look, we have been written off, this is yer time if ye want to get back on the horse”.

‘Cork can’t be under any illusions either, Louth showed plenty of stuff against Dublin (in the Leinster final) and are well capable of turning Cork over even if Cork do produce.’

O’Sullivan also hopes to see more variety to Cork’s game plan than what they showed in the provincial loss to Clare. John Cleary’s men need to bring something different to the All-Ireland series, and the games with Louth, Kerry and Mayo.

‘It was very easy to read, and I thought they did a lot of the same things they did all through the league. They played into Colm Collins’ hands because he was well prepared for Cork’s kick-out strategy and they had their match-ups right,’ O’Sullivan said, but the availability of captain Brian Hurley, who missed that game, is a boost.

‘Brian is still an integral part of the Cork forward line. He is a goal-getter. If he is left one on one, no matter the defender, anywhere from the D in, he will look to take you and stick it in the back of the net. He does take minding, the opposition knows about him. If Brian is inside they’ll sit someone there to close up that gap,’ O’Sullivan added.

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