Vital games for Cork's camogie teams
After a few weeks of hectic activity on the intercounty scene, neither Cork senior mens teams team are in action this weekend, for differing reasons.
The footballers have the weekend off ahead of what is certain to be three games on the bounce; Louth at home, Longford away and a final in Croke Park as they are almost guaranteed to top the Division 3 table, and with it, immediate promotion to Division 2.
Ronan McCarthy had mixed feelings after the win over Derry last weekend, similar to his views after the win over Tipperary a week earlier. “I'm delighted at the win, but unhappy at the way we finished. Having said that, we are still unbeaten and that is the pleasing aspect, we have had some challenges in the division and responded accordingly, so let’s see what the next few games will bring.”
By contrast, the hurlers loss to Galway ended their interest in the league and now it will be all of ten weeks before they play another competitive game - Limerick in the opening round of the Munster Championship.
Manager Kieran Kingston was disappointed at the outcome: “Look we went out to win every game, but that's how it is for now, we always knew the league was being run off quickly, so we will sit down and plan for the championship.”
Kingston also expressed happiness with some aspects of the campaign: “Lot of players got game time in a variety of positions and that will benefit us ahead of the championship which is our focus from now on.”
Three Cork teams face vital games over the weekend, especially the seniors who play old rivals Kilkenny in Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday at 2pm, their first outing in a month following the cancellation of their games versus Offaly and Clare.
It’s a concern for manager Paudie Murray: “Because of that and the weather, we have very little hurling done, and Kilkenny have played in the last couple of weeks.”
Those games were against Offaly and Clare who had a surprise but deserved win over Cork’s opponents on Sunday. The league format is also changed this year with semi-finals dispensed with and the group winners meeting in the final, so a win for Cork would put them in a strong position.
Murray also welcomed the return of Ashling Thompson, but was critical of the new rules being trialled in the league.
“Ashling gives us more options in vital areas and she played well in the win over Waterford, and the addition of the minor players that won All-Ireland medals last year is also a help. As for the rules, they made no difference to our last game, so trialling them in winter conditions is of little benefit.”
Home advantage might offset the lack of game time for Cork, and if Amy O’Connor, Leanne O’Sullivan, Hannah Looney, Orla Cronin and Linda Collins hit form, they might get the points on offer.
In the Division 2 League, also on Sunday, Cork play Kildare in Hawkfield, while on Saturday in Castle Road at 2.30pm, Cork meet Waterford in the All-Ireland Minor Championship. Having lost their opening game, the minors must win if they are to remain on course for a third successive title.
CBC will have to put their Harty Cup Final defeat behind them as they are back on action on Friday in Kilmallock where they will face Presentation Athenry in the All-Ireland Quarter-Final at 2.30pm.
Scoil Treasa Kanturk are also in All-Ireland semi-final action on Saturday with Holy Rosary Mounbellow. Rathkeale is the venue with a 2.30pm start.
Commiserations to Cork’s Jerry O’Sullivan who was unsuccessful in his bid to become GAA President in Croke Park last Friday night, but congrats to New York-based Corkman Larry McCarthy on his elevation to President elect and he will assume the role of President this time next year.
Larry’s first involvement with the GAA was with Bishopstown and it was nice to see him reference the club in his acceptance speech. So while he is technically a New York President, it's safe to say as Cork people we are very proud that one of our own will lead the Association from next year.
We wish him the very best of luck in that role and as they say, ‘once a Corkman, always a Corkman’.
On another note, it was disappointing to see that the County Board passes for All-Ireland medal winners - players and selectors - are no longer valid. These passes entitles delegates and those who won an All-Ireland senior medal with Cork free entry into all club games in the county. I am not sure how many of them are issued or even used, but surely it’s a short sighted move by the board to take away a privilege that has been in place for many years, and one I am sure those in possession of really appreciated as reward for bringing honour to our county.