Cork 0-25 Kerry 2-6 – Munster Minor Hurling

Cork:  G. Minihane; Alan Dennehy; C. Barry; Anthony Dennehy; C. Walsh; C. Spillane (T. Condon); K. Burke; C. McSweeney; K. McIntyre (0-2, B. Connell); A. Cadogan (0-4); D. Cahill (D. Morrissey); C. Murphy (0-2); P. O’Callaghan (0-2); D. Sweetman (0-2); R. O’Shea (0-13; 0-9f).

Kerry: K. Fitzgibbon; T. Moore; D. Fitzell; M. O’Halloran (D. Lynch); D. Collins; T. McElligot (0-1); K. O’Sullivan; E. O’Connor (V. Savage); M. Delaney; R. Heffernan (P. McGrath); PJ. Connolly (0-1); L. Fitzell (0-1; D. Goulding); D. Leahy; P. Boyle (1-3); S. Dunne (1-0).

A few brief points – no need to go into detail considering the result, and best to stay away from overly specific comments about individual players at underage level:

Regarding Cork, we seem to be a team not exactly short in individual talent or pace, but a team rather lacking tactically. There is a lack of balance from the midfield up in the sense that we have a lot of players with pace and drive who’s first instinct is to put the head down and run, and no players who look for a precise pass inside. I could actually count the number of quality inside passes on one hand, two of which were in the first few minutes and the last was by half-back Killian Burke (for Sweetman’s second point). In general we had a full-forward line of O’Shea/Sweetman/O’Callaghan that looked likely to take the opposition to the cleaners, but were given very little ball over the 70 minutes, our players prefering to solo, or over-elaborate or shoot from distance. This is the major point that management needs to sort out – getting the ball inside. Finally, there is no point playing Sweetman inside when we aren’t going to give him the ball.

A second point is that the spine of our teams seems rather weak, considering center-back and full-back switched, considering we lack a playmaker in midfield and the half-forward line and considering over two games Darren Sweetman has played center-back, full forward and center-forward. Its obvious we are short a quality target man and goal thread at full-forward, although Sweetman could probably do a job there with some ball he is a superior midfielder. These problems are further exasperated by Considine’s apparent need to play his players out of position – note our entire half-back line against Limerick being either forwards or midfielders. Finally the raft of changes game to game (and again, last year was no different) suggests Considine and his fellow selectors are incapable of deciding who the best players are and what type of players they need in their team. Along with poor decision making and a lack of balance, poor team selection is another considerable problem with the side. Note these are largely tactically problems, rather then a lack of individual talent.

Regarding Cork players, best for Cork were Killian McIntyre (in the first half), Pa O’Callaghan (the few times he got the ball), and Cormac Walsh (excellent going forward, clearly better suited at midfield or half-forward). By and large there were no poor performances and a lot of solid to good ones, albeit against inferior opposition.

Regarding Kerry, they’ll get a few senior hurlers out of the team, which is probably the best they can hope for. They had undeniably the most talented hurler on the pitch with Padraig Boyle whos touch and speed of hand was exceptional, while Muiris Delaney dominated midfield for the entirety of the first half, his lack of influence after the break being a major reason for Kerry’s decline. Elsewhere, both of the Fitzells played well at full-back and half-forward respectively, again particularly in the first half.

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