Cork senior hurling manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy confirmed yesterday that the search for new talent to bolster Cork hurling begins this weekend.
Cork’s loss to Galway in last weekend’s All Ireland semi-final identified areas for improvement and JBM sees the club championship as an ideal opportunity to view potential candidates for the 2013 panel.
“We would have discussed this during the year, that we would make sure we would get to all the senior and intermediate matches.?
“Championship games are the perfect environment to see how players perform under pressure.
“We will be looking for players to extend our panel and those who stand out won’t be missed.
“We saw last Sunday that we have to continue to do what we have to do to make the panel as strong as we can and any players that impress in the club championships will be brought into the panel, there’s no question about that.
“We did that already this year with Stephen Moylan as an example” he explained.
The Cork management team has specific criteria in mind for 2013 panelists but physicality is not a pre-requisite.
“We’re looking for players that are committed and willing to make the sacrifice required to play at inter-county level which is massive nowadays.
“Players need to show form obviously and I suppose it is hard to put down in words what you need but there are many different components in an inter-county player – desire and hunger to win too,” the Cork manager opined.
“I don’t go out to a game looking out specifically for a big, strong guy. If he is a good enough hurler we will bring him in.
“Equally, if there is a big, strong guy out there he will get a chance as well,” he said.
JBM feels the postmortems after last Sunday’s loss have focused too pointedly on the negatives and feels the calls for a change to the attack are premature.
“In fairness we played very, very well in the first-half but the half-time score probably didn’t reflect our performance and if we had those couple of points as a cushion I think it would have been a different game.
“Inexperience cost us. They crowded their defence very well and that is something you learn as you go along, how to deal more effectively with that,” he revealed.
Speaking at the launch of the Reardans GAA awards JBM highlighted the importance of recognising the feat of the club player during the course of the season.
“Any awards at club level are very, very welcome. The clubs deserve that exposure because during most of the summer they take a backseat and the players can understandably get frustrated.
“The players at club level deserve all the credit we can give them and these awards will also increase the awareness of the qualifying rounds for the semi-finals and final so I think it is a fantastic awards scheme,” he said.
The raft of championship games in the coming weeks allows JBM and his management team an opportunity to unearth fresh blood.
Last year the panel was announced in early autumn but the approach will be different for 2013.
“Last year we were new to the job and we decided to make a statement about our intentions but we’ll probably take longer and review the club championships this time and see where we go from there.
“If we decide to bring in a player from the club scene and feel it is a necessity to have them involved in some sort of programme we will do that.
With Cork’s interest in the All Ireland championship now ended the Barr’s native is unsure as to who will triumph on the second Sunday in September.
“That is a genuinely difficult question. I am looking forward to Sunday.
“We’ve had Tipp on a few occasions and Kilkenny twice and I really can’t favour either.
“It’s the toss of a coin really.
“It’s whoever delivers on the day.
“Kilkenny’s hunger could be important.
“Tipp have the forwards but defensively they probably haven’t been as good as other years so if they improve their defence it is very hard to call.
“Galway, I think, will be underdogs in the final because they beat us and we are not rated as highly as other teams so as a result they wouldn’t be considered the favourites,” he suggested.
From the club championship point of view, JBM reckons it is wide open and all to play for.
“It was great for my own club to win last weekend and I think we have a great chance this year, especially with some of the U21s coming through.
“The hurlers have a very tough game against CIT. They could have won it last year and if they all turn up on the day they would be favourites this year.
“Sarsfields and CIT would be my two against the field though,” he added.