Monday 11 December 2017

'They have a lot of good players but It's about us, not where Clare are at'

Ger Cunningham
Ger Cunningham

GER Cunningham gave no clear indication in Parnell Park yesterday whether Saturday's first-half annihilation by Cork had forced him to reconsider some of his positional experimentations but neither did he look particularly inclined to simply put it down to a bad night at the races either.

To recap, Michael Carton suffered repeatedly at the hands of the sprightly Luke O'Farrell, a full-forward not dissimilar in style to Shane O'Donnell…but more of that anon.

Conal Keaney was pulled at half-time but not before being pulled hither and thither by Cork's perpetual motion half-forward line.

Ditto Peter Kelly, who conceded aerial authority and too many scores to Seamus Harnedy whilst Liam Rushe celebrated his now customary goal with all the discontentment of a man who saw too little ball to influence a game like he has for the past two years as Dublin's centre-back.

They weren't the only ones.

But, on account of the quartet's largely successful starts to 2015 in their new hovels, they were the obvious ones.

On Rushe, who Eddie Brennan reckoned on RTÉ's League Sunday programme, "had too much hurling," to be shunted into full-forward, Cunningham pointed out: "It worked in the previous couple of games that we have tried it, to an extent.

"We'll see where best for the team for Liam to play - the same as any of the other lads in the same situation," he added, vaguely.

Cunningham was asked about O'Farrell/O'Donnell comparison and the potential, therefore, for Clare's zippy full-forward to inflict a similar style of punishment, he pointed at a bigger picture of blame.

"I think you need to look at the supply of ball coming in to him (on Saturday) too," he noted.

"Unfortunately our full-back line was under pressure because of the quality of ball coming in and that's a big thing as well.


"We'll look at Clare too and see what they have. Shane is a similar sort of full-forward to Luke so we'll have to look at that."

Suffice to say, Tipperary did Dublin no favours by winning in Cusack Park last Sunday, consigning - as it did - Clare to the bottom of Division 1A, pointless with Dublin and a trip to Nowlan Park in search of salvation to come.

"Another result will get us into the quarter-final, which would be great because it would give us the chance to play more matches," Cunningham pointed out.

"There was nothing in those games they have lost this year - there's only been a few points in it. It'll be a focus for us going down there on Saturday.

"It'll be a focus for us going down to play them in their back yard. They have a lot of good players, but it's about us not where Clare are," Cunningham concluded.

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