Rebels don’t have the firepower
At his press conference before this first meeting of Munster’s big two in Cork since 2014, Éamonn Fitzmaurice touched on the sort of patient, measured football his team would probably have to play this evening in the provincial final.
The expectation being that Cork will play with a thickly-spread defence, particularly early on.
“There’s definitely a different dynamic to that,” Fitzmaurice noted. “They have a good few changes in personnel, as well. They have a change in management, as well.”
The one change from the Cork team that comprehensively beat Tipperary in the Munster semi-final is the selection of Sam Ryan - at corner-back - as an indirect replacement for the injured Colm O’Neill.
The Cork plan then, seems to be trying to hang in there with Kerry until as late in the game as possible.
And with O’Neill, Paul Kerrigan, Brian Hurley and Peter Kelleher all on the bench, they have players who can come on and offer something different.
If Cork are to be competitive here, their midfield is key.
Ian Maguire, Ruairí Deane and Aidan Walsh have all gone well against the Kingdom in the recent past while their new 6’5’’ goalkeeper, Mark White, has an excellent kick-out.
He also made a couple of impressive saves against Tipp.
Doubtless, Fitzmaurice has made changes in the required areas and their half-forward line, in particular, looks stronger this year and more potent for the additions of Seán O’Shea and Micheál Burns.
It’s just difficult to know how much better their
full-back line is yet.
Against Clare, Peter Crowley played there with Jason Foley and Ronan Shanahan alongside but presumably, they will be interchangeable, depending on the opposition.
It’s not hard to see Cork frustrating Kerry here but it is difficult to see them scoring enough to take full advantage.
ODDS: Cork 10/3, Draw 9/1, Kerry 1/3