Eoin Larkin gives his thoughts ahead of Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final between Cork and Waterford.
Tadhg de Búrca had to wait long into the night to find out if he was free to play against Cork. Obviously, it’s not ideal being dragged on so late.
The GAA really need to have a look at this process, as the instigator is not getting punished in all of this, it’s the lad that’s retaliating.
It was Harry Kehoe that was involved in the incident in the Wexford game. He was trying to stop Tadhg de Búrca running. That’s a black card offence in football. Can the GAA do something in hurling to stop that kind of stuff?
I think the ruling is that if you tamper with someone’s helmet or face-guard deliberately. That’s open to interpretation as well, did he do it deliberately?
I don’t think so. I think he was just trying to get past Harry Kehoe to move on down the field.
It’s disappointing for him and Waterford, but it could work out for the Déise, as de Búrca is a sweeper, and I don’t think you can win All-Ireland semi-finals or finals with a sweeper.
Will they abandon it or will they bring in a direct replacement for de Búrca? Hopefully they will get rid of it, and we get a real game of hurling.
I’d love to see Derek McGrath change it up, as I don’t think there is another player in Waterford that can play that role, who can get good distribution of ball into the forwards. They’ll be dragged out playing the sweeper, and have few forwards to aim at, so the balls going in there need to be accurate.
There is another player like Tadhg de Búrca who can give the Waterford forwards that chance.
There is a chance that he will play in an orthodox style like they did against Kilkenny last year. Let’s be honest, they should have beaten us the first day. They out-hurled us for 65-67 minutes.
Retracting into the sweeper system and inviting Kilkenny onto them was their downfall.
We ended up drawing and winning the next day.
I’d be hoping that Derek McGrath goes man-on-man and sees where it gets them.
They definitely have improved since the Cork loss, not necessarily in their hurling, but in their attitude and mentality.
A loss like that can often bring you down to earth, as you can’t take the route you wanted to go.
They needed to refocus, and that definitely happened to Waterford this year.
It could be a blessing in disguise that they were beaten by Cork earlier in the year – when Kilkenny lost early in the season, if we got beaten by a team earlier in the year, it was rare we would lose to them a second time.
We had a mental edge, we knew we wouldn’t be beaten again. That could be in Waterford’s favour.
The manner in which Cork beat the Déise in June may be a worry for Rebel management and supporters, for fear of a backlash. They won comprehensively. The scoreline may not have suggested that on the day, but Waterford were soundly beaten.
This Cork team is improving, but they need to prove on their mental side of things. They need to prepare and get in a really good performance, get the work-rate and energy levels up.
The five-week break can be an issue for teams. Cork, being the young team that they are, you’d be hoping that after 10/15 minutes, they’ll get into their stride and play they way they played in the Munster Championship.
Being a young team as well, it could benefit them that they had the five weeks. They’ll be raring to go. I expect Cork to get out of the blocks firing on all cylinders.
They’re so young and eager, and the second the ball is thrown in, they’ll get into their stride fairly quickly.
I tipped them for the All-Ireland earlier in the summer, and don’t see any reason why they can’t win on Sunday. If they do get over Waterford, I think they’ll win the All-Ireland.
I fancy Cork. If Waterford go orthodox and get rid of the sweeper, it will be a closer game. I still think Cork will have enough to get over the line.
Make sure to check out The 16th Man podcast for the big-game preview.