THIS Sunday sees the eagerly anticipated clash between Cork and Donegal in the first of this year’s All-Ireland senior football semi-finals.
Both teams have impressed thus far in this year’s championship, with a rampant Rebels outfit destroying Kildare in their recent encounter, and Donegal defying the odds to defeat Kerry in their quarter-final bout.
It will be most interesting to see how each team copes with each other’s tactics – Donegal play a hugely defensive style, with the men from Cork adopting the very opposite to this, with a refreshing brand of attacking style used by Conor Counihan’s men.
However, Jim McGuinness and his Ulster side know that this tactic has worked wonders for them in recent times, albeit if it may not be the prettiest of football to watch at times. The Cork back six will need to be on top form if they are to progress to this year’s final.
Cork defender Paudie Kissane admitted to the Irish Examiner that concentration and no errors are key to their chances of beating Donegal this Sunday.
“They key against them is that they do well on turnovers so we’re going to have to use the ball very well,” he said.
“It’s going to be tight and there will be pressure so we have to minimise the mistakes and we have a few great forwards who hopefully can get scores. The key is not giving away silly possession and if we can do that, we should be able to get scores.”
To describe the Cork attack as having “a few great forwards” is probably a mild understatement from Kissane, with the inside forward line containing the eclectic due of Colm O’Neill and Donncha O’Connor, who are both more than capable of wreaking havoc in any inter-county defence.
Kissane isn’t fazed by Donegal’s defensive style, but added that their ability to counter-attack is undoubtedly one of their biggest attributes.
“Everyone is on about Donegal but a lot of counties have their tactics, Dublin have men behind the ball and Kerry bring midfielders back – it’s all about winning,” the Clyda Rovers star said.
“The key thing with them is that when they do turnover, they move very quickly from defence to attack, and that’s the real difference to other teams.”
Fans should be treated to what should be an intriguing battle between two very focused sides, with throw-in at Croke Park this Sunday at 3.30pm.