Former Limerick goalkeeper Barry Hennessy and TG4 pundit Naoise Waldron review the National Hurling League Division 1 semi-final between Kilkenny and Cork.
Barry Hennessy believes that Cork need to take a big scalp to remove the question marks hanging over them.
The Rebels were soundly beaten by Kilkenny in the NHL semi-final at Nowlan Park, even if the final margin was just six points.
Stapleton put it to the lads that Cork, despite having a new management team led by Pat Ryan, were losing the same old way as they had in the past.
He also said that while the Rebels were missing big players, so too were the hosts.
“It’s very hard to see what style of playing they have and what kind of game they’re trying to play,” says Hennessy of Cork.
“As you said there, they were hitting their stick passes, trying to attack from deep — that broke down.
“As you said there, they resorted to either long ball or a pot shot, which isn’t the Cork you’d see.
“But Kilkenny probably condensed that middle third and back into their own half-back line, and brought the game back the field a little bit, and were secure back there.
“It forced Cork into doing things like that which they’re not comfortable with.
“Any Cork team over the years that you have seen that were under pressure, it’s when they’ve reverted to type of hitting that long ball in there and they probably don’t have the ball-winners to hold the ball up and cause the damage inside there.
“But when Cork are in full flow, getting stick passes away, and breaking the lines from deep, they’re amazing to watch.
“It’s just when it starts the break down, that’s when the question marks are over them.
“Until they get a big scalp, I think the question mark will remain over them unfortunately.
“I’d be slow to criticise people at this time of the year because you don’t really know what’s going on at training, and training loads.
“But I do think that question mark is over them until they get that scalp in Munster or the All-Ireland series.”
Waldron feels that Padraig Walsh has “got a new lease of life” and is playing his defensive role similarly to Barry Nash with Limerick.
Hennessy was impressed with the overall approach of Kilkenny, and how they seemed to have brought new facets to their play.
“I think the most impressive thing for me was the evolution of Kilkenny’s style of play,” says the Kilmallock man.
“They’re able to mix the old Cody era of going direct when they needed to and they still had that out ball to launch it down the field.
“But then they are quite cute in how they worked it out, they were able to switch it to the opposite side of the field, use the space, find the man on his own in the middle third.
“You can see how they have evolved. The skillet was on full show so that was impressive for me.
“I thought Richie Hogan hurled well for a man we hadn’t seen in a while, and popped up with a few turnovers as well.
“He won a very good free when they needed it as well. I thought they were impressive overall.”