Cork Footballers

Dublin, during their peak, and Kilcoo during the club championship, survived almost exclusively on short kick-outs. Kilcoo went short with over 90% of their kick-outs against St. Finbarrs and looked the fitter team in extra time. Dublin’s All Ireland final win over Tyrone in 2018 saw them go short on 75% of their kick-outs, with only one Dublin kick-out going past their 65 meter-line. I’m not saying you have to commit 12 players into your own half to secure every kick-out, but it’s about taking the initiative and having the numerical advantage. Having more players back for the short kick-outs also means less work is required from individual players, while working the ball out.

If you’re using the full width of the pitch (i.e. two backs on the touchlines as viable options), with five players in the full-back line, it’s almost impossible for the opposition to compete for possession with the zonal press, even with four opposition forwards committed into the full-back line. If the forwards are forced to cover the full width of the pitch, all you really need is to find one mismatch in speed (i.e. Dean Rock potentially against Sean Powter), with a decent short pass from your keeper into space, and you’re guaranteed possession.

Even with 11/12 players committed to the opposition half, it can be difficult to shut down the short kick-outs. Cork committed 11 players into the Limerick half for a lot of the kick-outs and still couldn’t get close to stopping the short one. More importantly though, look at the amount of space and options the short kickout created for Limerick below. Limerick ended up scoring 1-9 off their own kick-out and it was one of the main reasons they were still in the game.


If opposition are forced to push up with man-on-man marking on opposition kick-outs, then you can take the initiative. This is one of the times you can bring 12 players into your own half to create space for your forward line and find miss-matches. It makes little sense to use an orthodox shape to counter man-on-man marking.

I think you might be overestimating how many potential errors arise from short kick-outs when fatigue kicks in. Cork didn’t score a single point off Limerick’s kick-outs, despite them going short on 23 of their 28 kick-outs, and looking visibly tired at the end of the game.

Also I’m not sure there’s any real sense in hitting X amount of kick-outs long for the sole purpose of variation. By all means, if Dublin have committed 11/12 players into the opposition half, then it makes sense to try and beat the press as you’ve said. But that’s kicking because you’re reacting to real-time shapes, not mixing it up for the sake of mixing it up. I think Martin is probably the best goal-keeper we have available, but we really need to start finding keepers who are capable of waiting until the last second, and who have a repertoire of kick-out types.
That's a very good post, but I wonder do some of those comparisons hold. For instance, I'm open to correction on this, but I don't recall Tyrone pressing up hard on Dublin's kick-outs in that match (or at least not for a sustained period), so the Dubs were able to get up the pitch without expending much energy. I expect that they will press very hard against Cork on Saturday, particularly since if they can force a couple of early turn-overs that will increase pressure on Cork to go long.

Furthermore, in 2018 the Dubs were probably better-conditioned and more able to hold and work possession than any other team, plus they were able to break with incredible speed when space opened up for them to attack. I don't think the current Cork team have shown anything like that ability to break at speed - in particular, the lack of players who can kick accurate long passes means it will be a lot harder for them to transfer the ball quickly from their own 45 into their FF line.

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you about what approach Cork should take on their own kick-outs, just noting that given the relative strengths and weaknesses of the teams, a strategy which worked in other circumstances might not be the best fit for Cork against these opponents. And I definitely agree with you that it is crucial that Cork find a keeper who can read the play in front of him and adjust at the last second (while still kicking accurately).
A huge game to try and win ! what a shame we dont have a fully fit panel to pick from but thats neither here nor there now ! but some of the players who have done v well were not expected to be starters yet here they are ....lets hope whatever the out come that we will feel positive after the match ....
Its amazing at the same time i dont think i have ever heard Cork to be such outsiders in a game in Croke Park ...we are been written off completely of luck rebels.


Full Member
I agree fully I can see this actually being very close something tells me we may push them to between 5 ta 6 points.I really hate saying that it would be a good result because I dont want to lose to any 1 but from where we are I spose it is as good as this is goin to get.They have to track their men all day long tho to stay at this 5 ta 6 point loss otherwise the flood gates could open.
Clearly generally hasn’t played mind games with his starting teams but it wouldn’t surprise me if Hayes started.

There’s possibly an argument to be made for having a few good subs to make us stronger so that we can possibly finish a lot stronger than we did against Kerry.

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