Five games, five losses.
That was Cork's dismal record in Division 1A of the National Hurling League this year.
There was a near redemptive 70 minutes against Kilkenny where Cork led for much of the game, including by five points with ten minutes remaining. Incredibly, Brian Cody's pulled that one out of the fire thanks to a late goal and a gift from Cork keeper Patrick Collins.
Still, due to the format of the league, Cork have a change to avoiding relegation. On Sunday week, they take on Galway in a relegation play-off in Salthill.
Former Galway manager John McIntyre was on Tipp FM on Tuesday and was highly critical of the Cork defence in particular labeling them the 'worst' Rebel backline he has ever seen. He also called the prospect of them defeating Galway on April 3rd 'unlikely'.
Cork conceded 31 points more than any other team in the National League this year.
There’s no question that Cork hurling is in something of a crisis at the moment. That’s why their relegation play-off match against Galway on Sunday week is critical. If they suffer a bad defeat in that game at Pearse Stadium, it’s going to leave them in bad mental shape for the Munster championship against Tipp. I’ve never seen a worse Cork backline in all my years following hurling.
I don’t think they hit hard enough, they’re not cynical enough, they’re trying to play the ball a lot of the time. They have forwards; Conor Lehane and Patrick Horgan will do damage if you give them space, but they’re haemorrhaging at the back and it’s a long time since Cork played a group campaign in the league and didn’t win a match. They’ve shipped some heavy defeats along the way, they were particularly atrocious against Dublin up in Croke Park.
Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE