Can the Rebels get the better of the Tribesmen?
Thurles is once again the port of call for Kieran Kingston and his men as they bid to reach the semi-final of the Hurling Championship with Galway standing in their way.
There’s important games also for the camogie and ladies football teams in pursuit of their Championship ambitions.
All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship
Cork v Galway
“Look if we can up here and win by 20 or 30 points it would have been of little benefit, but in the end we got the job done.”
Those were the words of Cork hurling manager Kieran Kingston after the win over Antrim in tricky conditions in Belfast last Saturday.
Kieran wasn’t happy with the first half performance: “We were sloppy and probably complacent after the early goals, we kept going for goals when points were there for the taking, our decision making was poor but we won that’s what it is all about.”
As regards preparation for Galway, in many respects it was ideal: “Well, it was very competitive which will help so we will look at the game address the issues and get on with preparing for Galway.”
Kieran of course expects a much tougher test: “For sure they’re a very good team and they will be hurting after losing the Leinster Final so it will be a big step up, but at this period in the season every game is a big one, so we are looking forward to it.”
Team captain Mark Coleman was also pleased with the win if not the consistency of the performance: “We got the win, that is what we came here for, but we know that display won’t do next week, so we will recover tomorrow, and then get the heads down for Galway. We will review the game, and rectify the mistakes, and be ready for whatever comes at us.”
Like his manager, Mark is expecting a fierce battle on Saturday: “Oh yeah, Galway are much better than their display against Kilkenny, they seemed very flat and they will look to show what they are capable of so it’s going to take a huge improvement on today if we are to win.”
The aftermath of the Leinster Final was dominated by the ‘handshake’ between Cody and Shefflin which in many ways took the spotlight off what was a very poor contest in which Kilkenny outfought Galway who produced a very disappointing performance which the manager never saw coming.
So, he will expect and demand a much more committed effort especially in attack where the scoring return was very poor and like Cork against Antrim, the decision making and shot options were way off the standard required to win big games.
Galway are much better than their showing in that game, and they have also won the least 4 Championship meetings with Cork, that will give them confidence.
Their team will feature key players in defence Daithi Burke, Jack Grealish and Geraoid Mc Inerney, while in attack the Cooney’s Conor and Joseph along with Conor Whelan and Cathal Mannion.
Galway are sweating on the availability of Cianan Fahy who is appealing a 1 match ban imposed following an incident in the decider.
How will Cork line up? Very few changes from Belfast I would think with Patrick Horgan likely to start, and in my opinion he should.
In the Antrim game particularly in the first half, it was back to the bad old ways of the Clare game, maybe dictated by the tight confines of the venue and playing into a strong wind, with short passing back and across the field which was not pleasing to watch.
There is some concern about Sean O’Donoghue and Robert Downey, but both should be fit and if along with Ciaran Joyce and Niall O’Leary they produce the form displayed in the wins over Waterford and Tipperary they should contain the best Galway can offer.
Luke Meade was quite last Saturday but Darragh Fitzgibbon continued his recent run of good form, while Robbie O’Flynn with 0-6 from play was excellent as was Conor Lehane who is really hitting the heights right now.
It has the makings of an intriguing encounter, Galway looking to put a very disappointing behind them, Cork hoping the momentum of recent weeks can be maintained as they bid to end a poor sequence of defeat in Championship to the Tribesmen behind them.
A more direct approach to an attack that can score freely if given the right ball could very well be the key to victory and if Cork can do that, they have the firepower to get over the line and reach the last four, which a short few weeks ago did not look likely.
The game is on Saturday in Thurles at 1.45pm and is live on C103.
Glen Dimplex Senior Camogie Championship
Cork v Waterford
Cork with 3 wins from 3 are just 1 win away from securing a place in the semi-final as group winners and they will look to seal that on Saturday, but it must not be seen as a foregone conclusion.
Waterford currently occupy 2nd place on 6 points and showed in their last outing, beating Tipperary in Thurles, that they are formidable opponents, Tipperary have been semi-finalist for the past 4 years and now on the back of that defeat are struggling to progress.
The sides last met in the Munster semi-final in Páirc Uí Rinn a number of weeks ago and it took all Cork’s craft and experience to get over the line.
Cork though are playing a nice brand of camogie and the inclusion of Hannah Looney and Orla Cronin has strengthened their options and with more game time this quality duo will and can only improve.
Equally Chloe Sigerson, Amy Lee, Laura Hayes and Ashling Thompson are playing with confidence.
Waterford will look to Iona Heffernan, Orla Hickey, Lorraine Bray, Ciara Griffin, Sarah Lacey as they bid to keep their play-off ambitions alive.
Add in the very talented Niamh Rockett and Beth Carton and it is clear Cork would not want to underestimate Waterford.
They certainly have the capacity to test Cork especially with home advantage, but the odds favour a Cork win and with it a place in the semi-final secured. The game is in Walsh Park on Saturday @5.30pm.
TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Champoionship
Cork v Donegal
Initially this should have been a home game for Cork but given the cost of an overnight stay would have really stretched Donegal, Cork have sportingly acceded to a request for a neutral venue. The game will now take place in Clane, Kildare on Sunday at 2pm.
This is Cork’s first game in the group of 3, Waterford are the other team, whom Donegal beat at the weekend, so a win for the Ulster County would ensure they progress, and make Cork’s game v Waterford a winner takes all scenario.
That though will be furthest from Cork’s mind, and they will travel in confident mood on the back of winning the Munster Championship with an impressive victory over Kerry in Killarney recently.
Cork played well that afternoon, even the searing heat couldn’t deny them a deserved win.
Roisin Phelan, Melissa Duggan, Maire O’Callaghan, Shauna Kelly, Aine Terry O’Sullivan and Orla Finn will as ever anchor the Cork challenge.
Dual players Libby Coppinger and Meabh Cahalane could also feature depending on their involvement with the Camogie team on Saturday.
In their win over Waterford, which was keenly contested, a 2 point win for the Ulster side, Niamh Mc Laughlin was their top player, while Yvonne Bonner, Emer Gallagher, Geraldine Mc Laughlin, Niamh Hegarty and Shelly Twohig made important and vital contributions.
Donegal are enjoying a good run even if they have lost two finals, the league decider to All-Ireland Champions Meath and the Ulster Final to Armagh, so there’s a consistency in their play.
The advantage of having played and won a game last week will help, but Cork’s form in the Munster Final was excellent and if they produce a similar performance they might just shade this one, but expect a tough competitive hour.
Footballers reach quarter final
Hard to believe that having picked up just 1 point after 4 games in the league that Cork are 1 of the 8 counties still in contention for the Sam Maguire Cup, it’s been some turnaround.
Relegation to D3 was avoided as was the prospect of playing in the Tailteann Cup so now they face Dublin next week in the ideal position as complete outsiders and really nothing to lose, and with it a game in Croke Park where you need to be to develop your team.
Well done to all involved and lets look forward to facing Dublin on Saturday week.