Changes in playing systems hindered Cork
Cork's Daniel Goulding announced his retirement from inter-county football earlier in the week.
He was one of the surviving students from the All-Ireland winning class of 2010 but in the intervening years, his place in the pecking order had rescinded to the point where he was omitted from the matchday 26 for Cork's championship clash against Donegal this year.
In the 2010 win, Goudling was named man of the match in the All-Ireland final. The following year, Cork claimed their league title on the spin but from there, Cork entered a period of decline that seems to get appreciably worse each season.
So, what happened?
“I suppose when I came along first, especially at U21 level, your primary function was to win ball and score. It was 15 on 15, basically, backs all looking after their own man. Then you saw things gradually change. In fairness to Kerry, they were ahead of their time; they were never ultra-defensive but they were cute in how they would set up, dropping the likes of Séamus Scanlon back, not as a sweeper per se but as a deep defensive midfielder. Any time I was marking Tom O’Sullivan I knew that he’d go four or five times a game upfield. So I had to be aware of that. I could live with that. But since Donegal came along there were just bodies everywhere you looked.
“Football is different now but it’s still a great spectacle. I don’t buy into this thing that they’re all just athletes now. If you look at those Dublin and Mayo lads, nearly all of them are athletes who can all play football as well. The hitting and the intensity in the All-Ireland finals was brilliant to watch. It just probably doesn’t suit a fella like me as much anymore.”