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Where to from here Mr Counihan?

A dejected, disappointed, frustrated, broken hearted and frankly puzzled Cork fan sits on his couch writing this piece, post a knock out from the semi final of an All Ireland football championship at the hands of Donegal. Why am I frustrated and puzzled? Because Cork are the best team of footballers in Ireland, I know that without a doubt. Why am I broken hearted? Because this is the second year we have been knocked out of a championship pre a final in a competition we should be dominating. Why am I dejected? Because I am not sure if things are going to change.

Much has been written of the Cork football fan and it's fickleness. After today who could blame them? Cork players have even taken time out from their busy media careers to have a cut off the Cork fans in recent times. I have to express my disappointment at reading an article just this week by a Cork footballer where almost more time was spent lambasting the fans than talking about the match. I have always supported both codes as an avid Cork fan, possibly donating more time and money to the footballers down throughout the years. Todays defeat, however, is probably the hardest I have had to swallow in quite a while out of either code! Why?

Conor Counihan and the Cork management have now had almost five years to bring silverware to one of the most talented bunch of footballers I have ever witnessed wearing the red and white I love so much. They're quick, strong, skilful and fit, but clearly mentally weak. I shed tears on the seats of the Cusack Stand in 2010 for two reasons. Reason one, the last time I witnessed my Cork footballing heroes lift Sam I was a mere seven years old, but more importantly, reason two, Cork had won Sam after years of frustration. We had got a monkey off our backs, the mental barrier which had capitulated so many seasons previous for us, had been banished. The history books beckoned in anticipation of a dominant few years for a quality Cork outfit. 

Today, that dream has come to a shattering end for us. Last year, we excused Cork because they were "caught on the hop" by an energised Mayo side. This year we were just out-thought, out-played and beaten by a hungrier and better team on the day. Who is to blame? Personally, I believe Conor Counihan and the management should be getting much much more from a team of the quality of Cork and clearly we need a manager who will take the approach of a "kick up the arse" rather than the "pat on the back" one. Counihan has, is and always will be a gent. He was as a player and is as a coach. I think his days are numbered for that very reason. A soft underbelly Cork need to develop some bottle and fast. I am not too sure a gentleman is the one I would pick to instil such an attitude.

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