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Cork footballer Mark Collins.
Cork footballer Mark Collins.

Mark Collins believes Cork can deliver in 2018


By Cian O'Connell

Mark Collins remains adamant about Cork's potential. Taking scalps and delivering important victories is what Cork crave to do in 2018.

The highly regarded Ronan McCarthy will be in charge Leeside and Collins feels that Cork can make an impact.

"Ronan has come in, he's has worked a lot with us before, under Conor Counihan and Brian Cuthbert," Collins says.

"He'll know a good bit about us. He has a good club record in Cork, really looking forward to working with him. He was in Conor's last year and one of Brian's years as well. He's excellent."

A gutsy display against Mayo in Round 4A of the All Ireland Qualifiers hinted at Cork's promise. "Big change over since 2010, we had a lot of success in Munster Under 21 and people thought it would automatically generate success at senior level," Collins remarks about what has been a disappointing stint for Cork.

"As we found out, it's not easily done. We've had a few bad years and we have yet to get that big win.

"A couple of years ago in Killarney we were close enough and against Mayo this year. A big win might drive us on a bit, there's a bit of hope."

Collins believes that Cork are ideally placed to produce once more. "There is this perception around the place that we're not looked after, but I've been there five or six years couldn't ask for any more, it's top class," Collins states.

"Everything we asked for, we're getting. It's down to the players at this stage to perform. We've been talking about it long enough, we've yet to make that step."

In the Cork panel since 2011, Collins is excited about playing inter-county football at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. "100 per cent, really look forward to going down there," Collins adds.

"I was down at the county final recently and it's top of the range. It's like walking into a mini Croke Park.

"If you were playing league games there you would really look forward to it. If you were lucky enough to make a Munster final against the likes of Kerry with a big crowd, it could only make you enthusiastic and make you look forward to things."

Reaching the last eight in the 2018 Championship must be Cork's objective according to Collins. "With the talent shown at underage, the minimum should be top eight, super eight should be the aim. There is a top class stadium and if you could get a couple of home games down there you could really look forward to it.

"I think we showed last year that there is plenty potential there. On our given day we're able to put it up to most teams. We've done it with Kerry a few years ago, Mayo last year (2017). Potential is there, but it's about putting it together and getting that consistency really."

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