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Crucial games for Cork teams

Wednesday, 7th March, 2018 3:00pm

Cork vs Tipperary

Three defeats on the bounce has heaped a bit of pressure on John Meyler’s men as they face a game where even a win might not get them a place in the last eight.

A defeat will consign them to a relegation playoff, most likely against Waterford, but irrespective of the opposition Cork will have home advantage.

Tipperary looked very impressive in their thrilling encounter against Kilkenny, and that would suggest there are in a better position than Cork right now, the fact that they also need a win to get a Quarter-Final spot will make Cork’s task that bit harder.

Cork will be without the suspended Seamus Harnedy.

However, the extra week will have helped Conor Lehane and his presence will boost an attack that is really not functioning at full throttle right now, Patrick Horgan the exception.

The composition of the Cork team will be interesting and it is likely that Darragh Fitzgibbon will return from injury while Mark Coleman will have benefitted from the 70 minutes he got under his belt in the loss to Waterford.

Tim O’Mahoney, Bill Cooper and Mark Ellis all played well in patches against Waterford but the lack of a consistent performance must be a worry, it has happened in the last three games.

With time running out the management will hope to get one on Sunday.

Michael Ryan, while disappointed at losing so narrowly last time out to Kilkenny, will have a number of players to return from Fitzgibbon Cup duty, the prolific Jason Forde among them, and on current form the odds favour a win for Tipperary.

Cork vs Meath

A meeting between two teams seriously searching for an improvement in form, and two points that would ease their relegation worries, while at the same time keep alive their slim hopes of promotion.

In fact Ronan McCarthy made that very point in a post match interview, saying: “Let’s worry about the next match and forget about promotion for the time being.”

The disappointing aspect of the recent loss was the very poor return of just 11 points, and the inability to break down Cavan’s defensive set up, which paid dividends in the end and they returned home deserving winners.

To be fair to the management, in an effort to rectify their problems and there was many, made four changes at half-time, one enforced with the injury to Michael Hurley, but it made little difference.

Meath are also struggling for form, and like Cork were beaten by Tipperary comfortably in Thurles, but they will surely be better in front their home support, who can be very critical of their efforts, which have not been good in recent years.

Andy McEntee will look for a huge improvement and to players like Padraig McKeever, Sean Tobin, Graham Reilly and Brian Menton and will be hard to beat at the compact Navan venue.

Mark Collins has been Cork’s most consistent performer along with Sean White, Ian Maguire and Tomas Clancy, but an all round improvement is required.

Cork did win in Newry on their last road trip, but can they repeat it remains to be seen, and with only two games left after Sunday, time and matches are running out.

Camogie

 

This Littlewoods Division 1 League semi-final is down for decision on Sunday in CIT, as is the Kilkenny vs Galway clash.

Cork will start as favourites and should justify that tag, although Limerick are well capable of testing them, even if they are over dependent on Niamh Mulcahy for scores.

Cork eased through the group phase unbeaten, and some players are still working their way back to fitness, while others were heavily involved in the latter stages of the Ashbourne Cup with UCC.

Orla Cotter, Leanne O’Sullivan, Meave Cahalane, Laura Treacy, Aoife Murray and the Mackey sisters, Katrina and Pamela, possess enough experience and guile to guide Cork to the decider.

In Division 2 unbeaten Cork travel to Wexford on Sunday as they bid to secure a place in the last four, while in the Under 16 Munster championship both the Cork ‘A’ and ‘B’ sides are in their respective finals.

The A team play Limerick, with Waterford providing the opposition in the B decider, times and venues to be confirmed.

Colleges

The All-Ireland Colleges senior hurling quarter-final Midleton CBS V Kilkenny CBS goes ahead on Saturday in Clonmel at 2.30pm.

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