Nash hopes Cork hurlers stop taking one hand-pass too many
By John Harrington
Former Cork goalkeeper, Anthony Nash, believes an over-elaborate game-plan has cost the Rebels so far in this year’s Munster Championship.
After defeats to Limerick and Clare they go into Sunday’s match against Waterford needing a victory to keep their hopes of qualifying for the All-Ireland series alive.
And Nash feels like they could have another difficult day if they persist with taking one hand-pass too many to try to force the perfect ball into their forwards.
“It's all the turn-overs (they’re conceding),” he said today at the launch of EirGrid’s Power Play Awards.
“What they're asking players to do is get that perfect ball. Keep hand-passing until you have that perfect ball to give in.
“Against the likes of Limerick and Waterford you can't delay on the ball too much. You have to move that ball from the point of contact.
“I was at the Cork-Limerick match and you could hear the deflation in the crowd when turnovers came.
“Last year they were moving it a little bit faster in my opinion. They were running in waves and causing teams' headaches and I thought that's what this year was going to be. I thought last year would kick them on, but now it looks like they're trying to give that extra pass, that extra ball, which I don't think they need.
“When you have Patrick Horgan inside I'd love to see them getting more direct ball into him.”
If Cork are to reverse their emphatic Allianz League Final defeat to Waterford, Nash believes they’ll have to make some personnel switches.
“Well, if they continue with the game-plan I wouldn't play Patrick Horgan in the full-forward line because he's not getting enough ball. I'd play him centre-forward. They need to try something new to bring something back into that dressing-room.
“If it was me, I'd play Tim O'Mahony midfield at the weekend and put Patrick Horgan centre-forward. And I'd leave Mark Coleman at number seven because that's his best position, he's a super hurler.
“It looks like Ger Millerick is out so I think you're going to have to fill a gap in one of those positions and either Daire O'Leary comes in at full-back or Damien Cahalane comes in and put Rob Downey on the wing would be my preference.”
Nash sees similarities between Cork this year and in 2016 when they were unexpectedly knocked out of the Championship by Wexford.
He knows from that campaign that when confidence drains out of a team it can be difficult to turn things around.
“Frustration creeps in big time and you start questioning things,” he said. “You question the game-plan, you question your team-mates, you question everything just because of the frustration.
“I just think they're missing a bit of enjoyment. It's an old statement, but I hope they throw off the shackles on Sunday and just go and attack. That's what they did last year, they were attacking in waves.
“You had Tim O'Mahony overlapping Robbie O'Flynn, Darragh Fitzgibbon overlapping and going forward, and I just don't think that has been as existent this year. I hope on Sunday it comes in.
“It's just frustration at the moment, really. That's what happens players. You get cranky with yourself, cranky with the set-up, and cranky with everything.
“Subconsciously you mightn't feel it but you're actually not playing as well then because you're not happy.”