Forthright Tomás Ó Sé lays it on the line for Cork

Five-time All Star and Kerry legend says Rebels seem to lack leaders and an adequate Plan B

Tomás Ó Sé: “They just seem like a team if you get on top of them very early they’ve no Plan B and they’ll just lie down.” Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Tomás Ó Sé: “They just seem like a team if you get on top of them very early they’ve no Plan B and they’ll just lie down.” Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Manna from heaven for Brian Cuthbert. The words of no better man than Tomás Ó Sé could be pinned on the wall of the Cork football changing room.

A mover and shaker in media circles nowadays, Ó Sé spoke plainly when asked his opinion of Kerry’s opponents in the Munster final on July 5th.

“Jeez, Cork will have to shake it up big time,” began the five-time All Star.

“I don’t think they learned anything from the Clare game. I think if Kerry rattle Cork in the first 20 minutes Cork will be in disarray. Cork have to come out and start strong. If they don’t these doubts and questions will creep in straight away.

“They don’t seem to perform when there are questions and this team needs a big performance when they are under pressure.”

Last year Kerry football proved they will survive after losing two of Páidí Ó Sé’s roguish nephews from their football ranks when capturing Sam Maguire for the first time since 2009.

Darragh first pulled on the jersey in 1993, Tomás tearing it off for the last time after the 2013 All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Dublin. But you can read their columns or see them on television.

Tomás, a resident of Cork where he plays for Nemo Rangers, sat amongst us yesterday in the offices of championship sponsor eircom.

“One big win for Cork could bring them on a lot but I think those losses – Pearse O’Neill, (Graham) Canty, Nicholas Murphy – robbed them not only of big physical men but robbed them of their leaders.

Second Captains

“They seem like a team rudderless enough to be fair from management down.”

It wasn’t just the neighbours he cut through with Mayo getting some of the same medicine.

“Jesus they’ve lost three heavy games, I don’t know,” said Ó Sé. “They seem like a poor relation of Mayo in that you can’t trust Mayo but you can’t trust Cork either. That’s not playing games, that’s just calling it as I see it. They just seem like a team if you get on top of them very early they’ve no Plan B and they’ll just lie down.”

After an 8am press conference with Dublin manager Jim Gavin, polite to a fault but very little to report, this was grist for GAA reporters’ mill.

Those present agreed with Ó Sé, even adding our surprise that Cork made the same mistakes against Dublin over two matches.

“Exactly,” said Ó Sé. “You see the great teams there over the last few years; if Tyrone were losing against Dublin, and losing badly, they’d start a row or they’d start something to get back into it. We’d do the same. You show something, like. But there was nothing there with Cork and that’s the worry I’d have for them.

“On the field, they need fellas to stand up more and give more leadership. I think they still have a dangerous forward line, they’re after bringing back Alan O’Connor, they’re after chopping and changing . . . It’s kind of putting questions into players minds.

“What frame of mind would Fintan Goold be in preparing for the game? I think there’s a lot of question marks there and there won’t be answers unless they beat one of the top three or four teams.”

Talent exists

“I’m obviously playing down in Cork now, I do think they have talent. I do think around the middle of the field, they’re missing physicality, I think that’s the one area. At the back they’re tight enough, they’re strong attacking.

“I think their forwards given proper possession and all that, you’ve (Brian) Hurley and (Colm) O’Neill inside, if they get enough ball like. If they can’t get the ball in, they’ve a strong runner in Kerrigan.”

So there is plenty there to be worried about?

“Put it like this, if Eamonn Fitzmaurice was in charge of Cork, I think you’d have a different Cork team.”

Ó Sé also feels Paul Galvin and to a lesser extent Tommy Walsh will have roles to play for Kerry this season and we’ll eventually see Colm Cooper returning to his best. “Look, if the Gooch can be going well, sharp, by August I’ll be happy. Éamonn wouldn’t have invited Paul back if he didn’t think he could have a role to play. I definitely think Paul will see action this summer.”

And Walsh? Tommy went away and for six years played no football...He was playing a completely different sport. It will take time. People need to be patient. I think it will be late summer until we see him,” concluded the Kerry legend.

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