Cork ladies footballers head to Kerry with no room for error 

Cork ladies footballers head to Kerry with no room for error 

Mourneabbey's Doireann O'Sullivan is tackled by Éire Óg's Meabh Cahalane. Both players are in the Cork squad to face Kerry. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

NO Kerry side ever needs an incentive to beat Cork when they clash in football, they simply just love beating the Rebel county no matter what the age level.

As much as Kerry would just love to beat Cork when they clash tomorrow, 3pm Austin Stack Park, Tralee, in the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship they now have an added incentive.

A win for the Kingdom and they are through to the All-Ireland semi-final and Cork are out of the championship, despite still having their second group game to play.

Last Sunday the Kingdom were easy winners over Cavan, winning by 5-14 to 0-13 and will go into their second group game full of confidence after that.

In that encounter, Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh and Síofra O’Shea contributed a combined haul of 4-6 as Kerry underlined their championship credentials.

Despite encountering some early resistance Kerry turned on the style with Ní Mhuircheartaigh and O’Shea in outstanding scoring form. Substitute Andrea Murphy also shot a second-half goal to give manager Declan Quill the kind of headache any manager wants as they prepare for the challenge of playing Cork.

Quill thinks has set them up nicely for tomorrow’s battle.

“It’s a massive game. I won’t lie, it’s a do or die game. If we win we are through to an All-Ireland semi-final and that’s the way we are going to be approaching it,” said Quill.

There are both positives and negatives for Cork ahead of this encounter.

On the positive side Cork were able to see their opponents and how they are set up and who their danger players will be. With no real league form to go by then a chance to see the Kingdom ahead of their clash could be crucial.

On the negative side the Kingdom have a championship game under their belts and one that will have taking to the pitch in confident form.

Speaking ahead of the game Cork captain, Doireann O’Sullivan said that they were all looking forward to getting going.

“Lockdown taught us a lot about ourselves and what we like and don’t like,” said Doireann. “A huge message that has come back from the girls since we have gone back training in how much we love playing football and how happy and grateful we are to be back playing at the highest level.

“Sometimes maybe, we took it for granted and one good thing that has come out of this pandemic is we realise just how much it matters to us. Football is a huge thing for all of us and the intensity and aggression in training has been incredible.

“Our group games against Kerry and Cavan are going to be like that, intense and aggressive and we need to prepare in that way for them.

“We are lucky as Kerry and Cavan played last weekend so it gave us a chance to have a look at them and see what they are about. But as I said all are just really looking forward to getting out and playing and hopefully getting off to a winning start tomorrow.

“They will be well up for this one as they know what’s at stake and we have to be prepared for the huge challenge they are going to put up to us,” concluded Doireann.

Cork will be expected to win and manager, Ephie Fitzgerald, has an abundance of talent available to him.

They have slightly increased the size of the training squad in case players have to step out for Covid-19 or other reasons.

For tomorrow’s game have no doubt that the likes of Roisin Phelan, Hannah Looney, Melissa Duggan, Maire O’Callaghan, Orla Finn, Ciara O’Sullivan, Aine O’Sullivan and Doireann will all be key.

One player that will be absent is Eimear Scally, who is taking a year out and will be a loss to the side. But even without Scally Cork will still be considered one of the favourites for the title and will need to show that tomorrow.

Cork can’t afford to lose, but a draw could be enough to see them advance pending on the result of their second game. But the Rebels won’t be thinking like that, they will want to get the points tomorrow and move on to the Cavan game with that vital win secured.

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