Cork’s decision to bring in Cian McCarthy for Saturday’s All-Ireland Hurling Championship final replay with Clare is the correct one, according RTÉ GAA analyst Tomás Mulcahy.
McCarthy is included in the Cork team at the expense of Jamie Coughlan in the only change from the drawn final three weeks ago.
The Sarsfields man was a late substitute on 8 September and it was a noteworthy spell as he caused the Clare defence plenty of problems.
Mulcahy told RTÉ Sport: “When you look at the drawn match there is no secret or no hiding from the fact that in the half-forward line Cork struggled big time. They would have also struggled in the half-back line but Jimmy Barry-Murphy has left that intact.
“If you go back to the Munster Championship campaign in the semi-final against Clare, Cian McCarthy played centre-forward that day and played very, very well.
“He fell out of favour but for the seven minutes he was on the last day, he brought a physical presence to the half-forward line where Clare had completely dominated from puck-outs.
“They won every type of possession and breaking ball. Cork in the inside line struggled to get any decent ball inside.
“Patrick Horgan, one of their main players this year, only got possession of the ball twice in the second-half.
“In any game, that isn't good enough and Jimmy Barry-Murphy would have looked at that and he would have said Cian McCarthy would bring that physical presence.
“But don't rule this guy out, that he is just there as a battering ram.
“He is a very good hurler and a good striker of the ball as well.
“I think he is a welcome addition. Jamie Coughlan loses out unfortunately but in that match against Clare in the summer he did replace Cian in the second half and he shot the lights out from every angle in the field that day.
“His opportunity will come I'm sure within the second half of the game to make an impact.”
“But don't rule this guy out, that he is just there as a battering ram. He is a very good hurler.” - Tomás Mulcahy
Mulcahy feels Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald will go with the same tactical approach this weekend and will hope to railroad the Rebels, but hinted the addition of goals on this occasion will be necessary if they are to get over the line.
The former Rebels player said: “I think Davy would look at a lot of the positives. They got 25 scores, probably the one negative they did achieve was not putting one or two balls in the back of the net.
“They had a goal opportunity in the first half and the second half and they didn't take them. If Clare had got either, they could have run out convincing winners.
“He could look at it and say 'yeah I'll go back into defensive mode because I don't want to concede goals' or he can say we need to push on and support Darach Honan a bit more in the full-forward line.
“I think Honan was left isolated one-on-one with Shane O'Neill and O'Neill won that battle. You will not score goals by bringing guys back into the defence.
“If Clare are going to win this match and take this game to Cork, they are going to have to push on and push people closer to goal.
“Forcing one or two goals could be the deciding factor on Saturday.”