The three Glen Rovers club presidents who started the northside club’s fundraising walk last Saturday. Glen Rovers President John O’Callaghan, Glen Rovers camogie president Nora Newman and St Nicks President Paddy Mulcahy.

Can Cork make it 4 in a row?

With the conclusion of the hurlers’ league campaign, it’s the turn of the footballers this weekend as they finish their group phase. There’s a busy Saturday for Cork camogie teams, while on Sunday the ladies footballers head to Navan.

Allianz NFL Division 2

Cork v Armagh on Saturday at SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh at 7pm

In different circumstances this could, and probably should be a game to decide who joins Donegal in the final.

Apart from the opening game to Donegal where they lost heavily, Cork should have beaten both Louth and Cavan. Those 2 and 1 point defeats cost them a shot at promotion.

For all that they have turned their season, or some would say saved their season by winning the last 3 games - relegation is no longer an issue now - can they secure a place in the Sam Maguire Cup irrespective of how the championship pans out?

Currently 12th in the ranking with 6 points, a win or a draw would suffice, 7 got them in last year, that after a QF defeat to Clare. They will be expected to get to the semi-final this year where Kerry are waiting.

A lot can happen of course to change that; Clare are in with a shout, Down and Kildare would all need to get to their respective provincial finals to knock Cork out (unlikely given their form) - that’s if we lose to Kerry.

It’s all a bit complicated but it will become clearer as the weeks move on, but a win and a Cavan loss to Fermanagh who need the points, would also strengthen Cork’s hand.

Manager John Cleary was thrilled with the manner of the win over Meath last Saturday hitting the last 7 points. “Absolutely fantastic result and getting it the way we did, shows that we are moving in the right direction. The lads never dropped their heads and got their rewards, it’s nice to be going down the road now with relegation out of the way.”

In his pre-match interview John referenced how big a loss Conor Corbett was for the earlier rounds and once again the Clyda Rovers star delivered. “He was excellent, took his goal - which was an important score - very well and 3 points from play all vital scores, great to see him play so well.”

The impact off the bench was also crucial. “Steven (Sherlock), Seán (Powter), Mark (Cronin) and Ruairi (Deane) all played their part and it was also good to get Killian (O’Hanlon) on to the field as well, you need everyone given the schedule of games coming up.”

For John though the focus now is on Armagh. “We want to keep on winning as we have a championship game in a few weeks (7 April v Limerick) and if we can win, it might cement our place in the Sam Maguire, but that aside nothing beats winning and we aim to finish the league on a positive note.”

Ian Maguire who along with his midfield partner Colm O’Callaghan have been excellent in recent games, shares the same opinion as his manager. “We want to win every game, naturally that doesn’t happen as we found out, we’re playing at home and we want to show our supporters what we are about.”

Ian was thrilled at how the last few games have panned out. “We always believed we were better than the results. A few small things went against us, not taking the goal chances that we created but we kept battling away and in the end got our just rewards.”

The depth of the panel is also a factor. It’s “getting stronger every week, guys coming back from injury, sticking to the game plan and hanging in there when things might not be going our way”.

Scoring 7 unanswered points in Navan is a sign that things are going in the right direction. “yes but Saturday is next up and it’s a must-win game and with a performance to match and if we can do that I’m confident we can we go into the championship in good frame of mind, but Armagh next and that’s the focus.”

How will Armagh approach this game, promoted and with a final against Donegal a week later? They might take the opportunity to rest key players, especially any guy carrying a knock after a hectic few weeks and that might shape the outcome.

Cork as John and Ian stated want to maintain their winning run and the starting 15 will be interesting, plenty of options now.

The desire to finish the league on a winning note might just give Cork the edge in a match that is live on C103.

Before the football game it’s the Division 1 hurling league semi-final with Limerick v Kilkenny at 4.30pm.

Very Division 1 Camogie League

Cork v Clare on Saturday in Páirc Uí Rinn at 2pm

A late brace of goals by Tipperary in the last round denied Cork a 3rd win in this very competitive group and with bottom of the table Clare next up.

Ger Manley’s side could have been looking at securing a place in the final with a round to spare were they to win this one, which they should.

In the immediate aftermath he was disappointed but at the same time accepting the outcome. “Look it was disappointing to concede those late goals, but I said before the game Tipp had a bit more than us done and I expected a tough game and we got it.”

It’s not a season defining game though. “Not at all, we were down a few, notably Saoirse McCarthy. She could have played but it was not worth it, Laura (Tracey) got game time in, so we will just get two good weeks training in now and get set for Clare.”

Clare are rooted to the bottom of the table and have yet to win a game and will desperate to avoid relegation, so that could make them dangerous, it is actually the 1st of 3 games between the side in the coming weeks.

On 21 April they will meet in the Munster semi-final in SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh at 12pm, the curtain-raiser to the hurling game between the same counties and they are also in the same group for the All-Ireland Championship.

Cork will be favourites to win and while Ashling Thompson is a likely absentee, expect Amy Lee to return in goal, Laura Tracey and the 2 Meabhs, Murphy and Cahalane in defence.

Laura Hayes, Amy O’Connor, Katrina Mackey and Saoirse McCarthy should have enough to get Cork the win.

The other games in the group see Kilkenny at home to Tipperary and Galway at home to Waterford, all bar Kilkenny with 3, on 6 points, so a Cork win would put them on top, with others likely to drop points, leaving the final round a week later very interesting indeed.

Very Division 2 League Final

Cork v Tipperary on Saturday

This is a repeat of the 1st round in which Cork won by 4 points in what was a very competitive contest.

Since then both sides have played well; Cork just losing once while Tipperary went unbeaten for the remainder of the campaign, which has them in good form coming into this final, where a time and venue has yet to be announced.

Cork have mixed and matched their team throughout the league given all players on the panel an opportunity to stake a claim for inclusion on the championship panel.

For this game though the expectation is that they will go with near enough to their strongest 15 - it is a final and Cork are the holders.

Niamh O’Leary, Lauren Homan, Caoimhe O’Donoghue, Katie Walsh, Grainne Cahalane, Fiona Nelligan and Laura Doyle could all feature.

Tipperary will look to Aoife O’Brien, Gemma Fox, Sinead Meagher, Laura Leenane and Emma Kelly as they bid to wrestle the trophy from the Cork girls. Hard one to call especially as the league game was so close, but hopefully a Cork win.

One other game is the All-Ireland Minor Championship on Sunday when Cork, with a win and a draw head to Galway for what has the makings of a very difficult encounter.

Lidl LF Division 1 League

Cork v Meath in Páirc Tailteann Navan on Sunday at 2pm

This game will almost certainly end Cork’s stay in the top flight of ladies football which is a surprise given that they were the dominant team in league and championship for so long.

The signs were ominous in recent years as the great team, like all great teams, began to lose key players for a variety of reasons, injuries and retirement the main ones, and success at national level eluded them.

Cork are the reigning Munster champions and that is a competition they will now focus on as their finishing position in that will determine where and who they play in the group phase of the All-Ireland Championship.

Meath themselves have gone back since their heady days as well and suffered a heavy defeat to Kerry last weekend but for now their place in Division 1 is secure with 9 points.

For Cork to survive they not only have to win this game and given they have lost the last 5, results elsewhere have to go their way and when you are not in control of your own destiny it’s that bit harder to focus.

What they really need now is a good solid display, ideally of course a win, and when it’s all over, switch attention to the opening round of the Munster Championship away to Waterford on 20 April. The Deise girls were comfortable winners of the recent league meeting so that’s not going to be an easy opener.

Hurlers finish on a high

Like their football counterparts Pat Ryan’s hurlers made it 3 on the bounce with a convincing win over up to then unbeaten Wexford in difficult conditions last Saturday. However Kilkenny’s win over Waterford ended their hopes of a semi-final spot.

Cork will regret their failure to convert several goal chances in the 1 point loss to Kilkenny that ultimately cost them.

Pat Ryan said: “An extra game would have helped especially with so many guys coming back from injury but it was not to be so we will organize a few challenge matches to get game time into players.”

As for the injuries it’s positive. “The lads trained last night (Friday) and all going well, Mark Coleman included, should all be ready for the championship.”

That game would have been against Limerick who are still the team to beat in both league and championship, so maybe missing out on that clash may not be such a bad thing after all.

For now they can get a good solid block of training in ahead of what will be the pivotal game, in my opinion, away to Waterford on 21 April.

Finally the Glen Rovers fund-raising club walk last Saturday was a resounding success - well done to all participants and my sincere thanks to all who sponsored me, it is very much appreciated.