Just went back and had a look at Cork’s team in the 2004 AI Final, when they beat Kilkenny 17-9 at the high point of their running game
GK Donal Óg Cusack
RCB Wayne Sherlock
FB Diarmuid O’Sullivan
LCB Brian Murphy
RWB John Gardiner
CB Ronan Curran
LWB Seán Óg Ó hAilpín
MD Tom Kenny
MD Jerry O’Connor
RWF Ben O’Connor ©
CF Niall McCarthy
LWF Timmy McCarthy
RCF Kieran ‘Fraggy’ Murphy
FF Brian Corcoran
LCF Joe Deane
Now that was a great team - and if they weren’t playing at the same time as Cody’s Kilkenny they would go down in history as one of the greatest - so comparisons are very dodgy.
However, for a running team, it is pretty telling that 3 of the 6 forwards were absolute ballwinning machines (the two McCarthys and Corcoran). Timmy McCarthy in particular didn’t score much but started every game.
When Donal Og went short with the puckouts, where did they hit it next?
Either to Ben, Jerry or Tom on the run or long into the three ballwinners.
The opposition had to cover both options which opened some space for the runners and prevented them just falling back on the D to defend the long ball.
Whether we have those players or not, a team needs them to win.
I would think that, in a different world, Sutcliffe, Cronin and Schutte are three youngish lads who could do/ develop into those roles for the next 5-7 years. Backed up initially by ROD and with Cian Boland at a minimum also in the picture.