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Last chance saloon for footballers

Wednesday, 20th March, 2019 4:20pm

“There is no quick fix here, we just have to keep working hard at what we are doing and prepare for next Sunday’s trip to Armagh.”

The words of Cork football manager Ronan McCarthy speaking immediately after last weekend's seven point loss to Donegal.

Ironically, for over 50 minutes Cork played some of their best football of the league and the winning margin probably did not reflect that, a point on which McCarthy agreed.

“We did but that is of little consolation to the lads, you have to finish the job and we didn’t. To be fair, Donegal are a top eight team and that showed when the game was there to be won.”

Injuries are also a concern ahead of a difficult trip to the Athletic Grounds in Armagh.

“I need to check with the medical people but at this stage Micheál (Martin), Ian (Maguire) and Luke (Connolly) might struggle to make it,” said McCarthy.

The equation is simple; Cork do not control their own destiny, even if they win their game, then Tipperary must beat or at least draw with Clare in Thurles. Any other sequence of results and it’s Division 3 for Cork next season and that would represent a serious setback for football in the county.

The displays in the league to date have lacked consistency, and I can’t help but feel that the point dropped in the last minute in the opening game against Fermanagh set the tone for the remainder of the campaign.

Had Cork won that game, and they should have, it might have given them a degree of confidence going forward and the results might have improved. Small margins - look where Fermanagh are now, on the cusp of promotion to Division 1.

Armagh have little to play for, they cannot be promoted or relegated, but playing at home and with it being their final game before the championship, they will want to sign off with a win. They are coming in on the back of a victory over Fermanagh last Sunday, an indication of the task facing Cork.

The composition of the Cork team, whose confidence must be low right now, will be interesting and if the trio of injured players are absent, then it’s hard to see them getting the win they so badly need.

Camogie and Ladies Football

A relatively quiet weekend with just two games; the intermediate team face Down in Castle Road on Sunday at 2pm and with qualification for the play-off stages are still within their reach, but they must win this game and hope results elsewhere go their way.

For the minors it’s a much more important game as they entertain Wexford in Castle Road on Saturday at 2pm, where having lost first time out, they need to win if they are to stay on course in a bid to defend the title they won in style last year.

Having easily accounted for Donegal last Sunday in the Lidl National Ladies Football League, Cork make the trip to MacHale Park on Sunday for a 12pm clash with Mayo, where another win will almost guarantee them a semi-final spot.

County Championship

There's one more game in football tonight (Thursday) when UCC and Muskerry meet in Páirc Uí Rinn at 7.30pm. Having played on Monday, Muskerry might have a slight advantage, depending of course on the quality of team UCC might have available.

There are four games in the hurling championship on Tuesday next with two double-headers. In Páirc Uí Rinn at 6.30pm, champions Imokilly should be too strong for Carrigdhoun, while at 8pm, Avondhu should get the better of Carbery, even without the newly promoted Charleville contingent.

The 4G pitch in Páirc Uí Chaoimh will, for the first time, host senior championship games. UCC, even without a few of their Fitzgibbon winning side will be favourites to beat rivals CIT at 6.30pm, and at 8pm Muskerry should be to good for Duhallow.

Kieran O’Connor game

The outpouring of support for Kieran O’Connor reflects so well on the Association that we are so proud to be involved in, and the Aghada club and the people behind the Friends Of Kieran fund deserve immense credit for the effort they are putting in.

Another important event is the senior hurling challenge match on next Wednesday 27 March between Cork and Kilkenny in Páirc Uí Rinn at 7.30pm. It's deserving of everyone’s support and hopefully a big crowd will turn out and the weather gods are kind to the organisers.

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