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Tough test awaits hurlers

Wednesday, 11th November, 2020 1:41pm

After the drama and excitement generated by the footballers’ win over Kerry, the focus this weekend is on the hurlers as they face the All-Ireland champions Tipperary on Saturday in a ground where our record is not the best.

Saturday will also see the camogie team play the quarter-final in Páirc Uí Chaoimh with Clare providing the opposition, and the ladies footballers head to Birr for a meeting with Cavan on Sunday.

Cork vs Tipperary

In the immediate aftermath of the win over Dublin, manager Kieran Kingston expressed delight with the win, and the performance: “I’m very happy, much better than last week, our workrate was way up and so was our accuracy. We had two good training sessions during the week and it showed out there today.”

The draw, though, could not have been tougher: “With all due respect to Clare and Wexford, this is a real challenge,” said Kingston. “Tipperary are the All-Ireland champions and will be hurting after the loss to Limerick, but we have two games under our belts and hopefully that will bring us on again.”

Kingston also updated the injury situation confirming that the Cadogan brothers, Eoin and Alan, and Darragh FitzGibbon will not be fit for this game, while they will have to assess Sean O’Donoghue and few others that had knocks and bruises.

It will be a third game in successive weeks for Cork, while Tipperary will have had two weeks to get themselves ready for what is a season defining game.

What is better, successive games or two weeks training? At this time of the year it’s hard to say but the growing injury list is a worry for Kieran and his management team.

Tipperary were well beaten by Limerick, same as last year when they bounced back from that hammering to win the All-Ireland. Liam Sheedy will be hoping for a similar response, but this is a different season and the lack of game time might hinder them, but they have depth.

Several of their players were below par in the Limerick game; Seamus Callanan failed to score but did create the first goal and Padraig Maher was replaced and it emerged he had been unwell.

There is a lot of quality in Sheedy’s team, as they showed with an easy win over Cork in last year’s championship, albeit on a day that was totally different to what Saturday will bring us.

Cathal Barrett, Brendan Maher, Jason Forde, Jake Morris and Niall O’Meara will all feature on a Tipperary team on a mission of atonement.

Cork’s selection might be determined by the injury list. Aidan Walsh got game time last week, Stephen Mc Donnell showed he still has something to offer and his big match experience could be invaluable in what could be a battle in possibly trying conditions.

Colm Spillane, Mark Coleman, Bill Cooper, Robbie O’Flynn, Shane Kingston, Seamus Harnedy and Patrick Horgan all must have key roles to play if Cork are to extend their season.

Last week’s effort will have to be matched and even bettered if they are to win, as Tipp are a couple of notches above what Dublin have to offer. Tipperary will start as favourites, but Cork can win if they apply themselves from the off and be prepared for the battle that it is going to be.

The game is live on C103.

Cork vs Clare

Cork’s camogie players were disappointed at losing to Galway last week, but manager Paudie Murray was delighted with the performance which was much improved on the previous week against Wexford.

The fact that they were already qualified made the narrow defeat all the more acceptable. Galway converted two sideline cuts which yielded four points, and that made a difference.

In many ways playing a quarter-final, especially on home soil where Cork have already played, could actually benefit the side having received a walk-over from Offaly. The extra game, if they win, should help as games can be hard to get at this time of the year with challenge games not allowed.

Clare have improved immeasurably in recent years and have good players in Mairead Scanlon, Niamh O’Dea, Orlaith Duggan and Aisling Corbett who will relish the challenge Cork will present.

Cork, though, should have too much in hand and if Amy O’Connor, Chloe Sigerson, Laura Tracey, Ashling Thompson, Linda Collins and Orla Cronin play to their potential, then they should secure a semi-final spot.

Cork vs Cavan

Having got the better of Kerry in a tough battle last Saturday, Cork should be too strong for a Cavan side that were well beaten by the Kingdom in the first round.

A concern might be that the dual players will be on camogie duty on Saturday with a long trip to the midlands on Sunday, but they have coped with this in the past.,Cork should guarantee a place in the last four, especially if Orla Finn, Doireann O’Sullivan, Áine Terry O’Sullivan, Hannah Looney and Martina O’Brien deliver the performance they are capable of.

Footballers win

Much has been said and written about the win over the red hot favourites Kerry in dreadful conditions last Sunday but all credit to Ronan McCarthy and his backroom team, they got the tactics spot on and the players delivered them to perfection.

It was worth the eight year wait for this and it was to be savoured and enjoyed, which I did.

The focus now switches to the final against Tipp in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday week, and it’s a dangerous tie for Cork.

Cork will be red hot favourites and have found Tipp a tough nut to crack, as games between the two have shown over the years. I suspect that management will have drilled this into the players when they trained on Tuesday.

It’s been the strangest of seasons so far and the final represents an ideal opportunity for this team to make a clear statement that they will have a major say on the destination of Sam Maguire this year. They have already spoiled the festivities in the Kingdom and they have the ability to inflict more damage on the big guns before the last ball is kicked in this championship.

Jim Cremin

When word came that Jim had passed away last week after a short illness, it evoked great sadness, especially for his family and those in his beloved Nemo Rangers. His contribution to that club can never be measured, and while better known as an excellent hurling goalkeeper in his playing days, Jim was a force off the field and it’s no coincidence that he filled a variety of roles with various football teams in the club and was particularly a friend and confidant to Billy Morgan.

I have known Jim for years and my last meeting with him was outside Páirc Uí Rinn during the first lockdown and he was slagging me asking was I waiting for it to open. That was Jim, a gentleman, and I was proud to call him a friend. My sincere sympathy to his family and his colleagues in Nemo Rangers. My sympathy also to the family of Vincent Coakley of Aghinagh who won a National Football League medal with Cork in 1979/80.

and a Munster Minor Football medal in 1973.

 

It was also noticeable in many of the well-deserved tributes that were paid to him, how his presence and words in the dressing room on big match days was referred to.

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