Cork’s strongest team will include Ashling Thompson. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Can Cork secure a place in camogie league final?

Given the frenzied inter-county activity of recent weeks, it’s just the one game this weekend and a big one it is as Ger Manley’s side bid for a place in the league final.

Very Division 1 Camogie

Cork v Galway at Duggan Park Ballinasloe 2pm on Saturday

It’s all to play for in the final round of games in this very competitive division with all but two teams out of contention for a place in the final. Clare are pointless and relegated, while Kilkenny, with just one win, cannot progress.

Waterford with two wins could make the final but would not only need to beat Kilkenny but would results elsewhere go their way if they are to progress?

Tipperary play Clare and should and will probably win thus ensuring they make the final.

What this all means is that the Cork-Galway clash is, in all but name, a semi-final.

Ger Manley speaking after the win over Clare said: “It’s great that is has come down to this, ok had we beaten Tipp we would now be in the final but there’s nothing like a good competitive game at this time of the year.”

Ger had mixed views on the win over Clare: “We never looked like losing, but our conversion rate, especially in the first half was poor, (eight wides) and just six points scored and that after playing with the wind.”

The second half was much better: “Sorcha McCartan made a big difference and got some nice points, while Hannah (Looney) took her goal well after good work by Katrina (Mackey).”

It also saw a first start for Laura Tracey who was as solid as ever, Saoirse Mc Carthy returned from injury and was without a doubt Cork’s best player on the day.

Laura Hayes was excellent while Aoife Healy is also beginning to find her form and that’s a plus as well.

Ger explained their first half: “We had two hard weeks training behind us, as we had no game last week we got a lot of work done so we can tone down this week and focus of Galway.”

One other aspect will be the finalisation of the championship, he said with a wry smile. “That’s also on the agenda but let’s try and win the league first,” he said.

Ger also said while they have lost a few players, Galway are a good team: “We played them 4 times last season and only won 1, it was of course the most important one, the All-Ireland semi-final, so we know it won’t be easy up there, but we are going up to win and get to Croke Park.”

Galway, like Cork, also lost to Tipperary and where within minutes of losing to Waterford last Saturday but pulled it out of the fire with injury time points in 0-13 to 0-12 win.

They actually lead by seven points at half-time. Waterford drew level, but as Manager Cathal Murray said afterwards: “The spirit within the group got us over the line and now along with Cork, we control our own destiny next weekend, which is all you can ask for in any competition.”

Cathal has huge regard for Cork: “Well they are the All-Ireland champions and are an exceptional team, but look it’s going to make for cracking game on Saturday, effectively a semi-final.”

Niamh Niland, Dervla Higgins, Carrie Dolan, Ailish O’Reilly and Aine Keane all impressed in that win and will be keen to get one over on their keen rivals especially on home soil.

Cork are likely to go with their strongest team for this one and with a day in Croke Park and a league final spot on offer who can blame them.

Amy lee will start in goal, while Meabh Murphy who was excellent last week, Laura Tracey and Meabh Cahalane will anchor the defence.

Ashling Thompson and Mc Cartan both of whom did not start the Clare game, throw in Amy O’Connor, Laura Hayes, Saoirse Mc Carthy and Katriona Mackey and there is plenty of firepower in the attack, and they will look to improve, especially on their 1st half display, get that and they are well capable of winning.

It was an exceptionally good weekend for Cork Camogie, the D2 side retained their title with a good win over Tipperary and the Minors were excellent in their victory over Galway hitting 0-19 in the process.

Cork Football

They very nearly made it four in a row, but a late point denied them, however John Cleary’s side finished the league on a high and that will please them heading into the championship in two week’s time.

It was a cracking game to be fair with Armagh despite been promoted already playing their part. Cork have amassed a massive total from play in their last three games, 5-42 out of 5-46 by any standard is some going. It also almost guarantee’s them participation in the Sam Maguire Cup irrespective of how the Munster Championship pans out.

That begins on Sunday week when Limerick arrive on Leeside and given what happened in Ennis at the same stage last year, Cork will be fully focussed on that game, as John Cleary and Sean Powter both said on Saturday after the game: “The league is over from tomorrow now it’s Limerick next.”

The only downside was the injury to Killian O’Hanlon likely to keep him out for few weeks after just recovering from other injuries, some guys need a break just like hurlers Mark Coleman and Robbie O’Flynn.

Ladies Football

Cork’s worst fears were realised in Navan on Sunday when another defeat sent them to Division 2 next year. For the first time in 20 years they will not be plying their trade in the top flight.

Disappointing as it is the focus now must be on the Munster Championship which starts in a few weeks away to Waterford. While Kerry are favoured to win that championship, a strong showing by Cork at least getting to final will give them more favourable draw in the upcoming All-Ireland Championship.

It was good at under-age level for Cork LGFA. Saturday sees a double-header in SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh 4G pitch. They play Limerick in the Under 16 Munster Championship at 12pm in the B grade followed by the A game between the same counties at 2pm.

February award for Colin

When Mary I in Limerick recently won the prestigious Fitzgibbon Cup there was a very strong connection.

Jamie Wall was the coach, Jack Murphy a member of team and the captain from Liscarroll Gaels was Colin O’Brien.

In recognition of this feat Colin was presented with the 96FM/C103 GAA Sports Star award for February in association with the Rochestown Park Hotel.

Colin a minor and under 20 All-Ireland medal winner with Cork was thrilled to be honoured: “Absolutely delighted I was special to win the Fitz, but to be captain was extra special, and with Jamie as Coach it very special indeed, it was a great final and we got satisfaction from beating our rivals UL in the final.”

County Board Chairman Pat Horgan said: “It’s a wonderful competition to win and on behalf of the Board my congratulations on this well deserved award and of course Jamie’s part in this should not be forgotten, and I wish you the best of luck for the rest of the season.”

Pat also paid tribute to 96FM/C103 and the Rochestown Park Hotel for their continued promotion of these awards and also for their support to Cork GAA in general.

Steve Cox from the Rochestown Park Hotel and Kieran Mc Geary 96FM also congratulated Colin and wished him well for the coming season with his club. Family, club mates were in attendance as was Jamie Wall, but two very special guest were also present - his grandfathers Pat and Joe - who are long standing supporter s of Colin and Cork teams in general. It was also confirmed that the 21st gala banquet will be held on 31 January 2025.