BY KIERAN McCARTHY
SHANE Crowley has revealed what O’Donovan Rossa must do to keep their Cork SFC hopes alive this Sunday: improve their work-rate.
Last season’s semi-finalists find themselves in last-chance saloon when they take on Avondhu in a Round 2B tie in Coachford (3.45pm), and a defeat here would end the Skibbereen team’s championship hopes.
Crowley admits that his team’s work-rate wasn’t at the level it should have been for the first round loss (2-13 to 1-14) to Carbery in early May, and that they need to bring their A-game this Sunday.
‘This is knock-out football. We need to play a lot better or that’s it. Guys need to step up or it will be an early finish to our season. The lads know this and they have put in a good effort since the Carbery game, they know how important this match is – our season hinges on it,’ Crowley said.
‘It came down to work-rate (against Carbery). We weren’t following our runners and when Carbery were running at us, our work-rate from our forward line wasn’t good enough on the day and it allowed Carbery cause us problems. It made it easier for Carbery to put our backs under pressure.
‘You can talk about tactics all you want but you need your guys to put in the hard work on the pitch; if they don’t then you’re not going to win.’
If Crowley wasn’t happy with the work-rate of the forwards against Carbery, he has it drilled into the entire team the danger of an Avondhu divisional side that has Cork seniors James Loughrey and Tomás Clancy in their half-back line, and that thumped Ilen Rovers 4-16 to 0-6 in a preliminary round game between then losing to Valleys (2-6 to 0-11).
‘Avondhu put up a big score against Ilen but were caught by a late sucker-punch by Valleys in the first round. They’re a strong team, picking from the best of Fermoy and Mallow, especially, and Glanworth, Mitchelstown and a few more clubs,’ Crowely said.
‘They have a lot of attacking prowess in the back line, especially with Tomás Clancy and James Loughrey, then there’s David Pyne in midfield, and in attack they have Shane Beston and Colm O’Neill, who will take a lot of watching.
‘This year the divisional teams look strong on paper and that goes for Avondhu too, and when you add a forward like Colm O’Neill into the mix, it shows you how good they are. He’ll need a lot of watching.’
Rob McCarthy (hamstring) is a major injury doubt for Sunday, while both Thomas Hegarty and Donal Óg Hodnett sat out last weekend’s county league win (1-14 to 2-7) against Ilen Rovers. Hegarty is expected to be fit to start but Hodnett is regarded as a ‘big worry’.