Amy O’Connor in action. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach

Cork face final hurdle

Excitement has reached dizzying heights on Leeside in the lead-up to Sunday’s All-Ireland camogie final between Cork and Waterford in Croke Park.

A win would bring some much-needed joy to Cork GAA as a whole following a disappointing year across the board.

Cork come into Sunday’s showdown against neighbours Waterford having reached both the 2021 and 2022 All-Ireland finals, losing to fierce rivals Galway and Kilkenny respectively.

Complacency is not an option for the Rebels on Sunday having already been beaten by Waterford earlier this year in the Munster Senior Camogie Championship quarter-final in April in Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

Former player and Cork camogie legend Linda Mellerick says she is “fully expecting a Cork victory” on Sunday but says “fairy tales can happen”.

“At the start of the year Cork were going poorly and had an awful lot of injuries to be fair throughout the whole season,” Linda told the Cork Independent.

She continued: “But those players have come back now, and because those that filled the gap got an extended period of playing, practically most of the season, they've all come on leaps and bounds, so Cork's bench is stronger than it's ever been.

“Cork have come really strong in the last 4 weeks. I think timing is everything for them,” she added.

“They have a clean bill of health, they have a massive strong bench to bring on, they’re relaxed, they’re enjoying it, they’re playing with more confidence, and I think they’ll go into this game possibly in a much better place mentally than they have in the last 2.

“I’d be surprised if there was any complacency at this stage, I mean, they can’t be complacent, they haven’t won an All-Ireland since 2018.”

Cork have already beaten both Kilkenny and Galway on their road to this year’s final. Sunday will be Waterford’s first final in 78 years and the Déise will be confident after defeating Tipperary by a single point in their semi-final last month.

Linda continued: “Cork could hit them in the first 10 minutes if they’re not careful. I think if Cork click, there will be more than a few points in it, but at the same time, you don’t know on the day.

“I’ve a good feeling about this one for Cork, I think they are mentally and physically right for this one.

“Yes, you can play league finals in Croke Park, you can play quarter finals, semi-finals, but All-Ireland final day is a different kettle of fish altogether. It’s Cork’s to lose.”

A record crowd upwards of 30,000 is expected in Croke Park on Sunday.

A spokesperson for Irish Rail has said demand for their services on Sunday has been very strong and they expect all services to sell out soon. A special 9.40am service from Cork to Dublin has already sold out, however there are currently a few seats remaining for their regular 8.25am and 10.25am services. Currently, Bus Éireann does not have any additional services planned.