SATURDAY: Liberty Insurance All-Ireland senior quarter-finals: Cork v Clare, 1pm; Tipperary v Waterford, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 2.45pm.
A HOME game for Cork as they take on Clare in the Liberty Insurance senior quarter-final in Páirc Uí Chaoimh tomorrow.
While Cork may not train in the Páirc it’s a benefit to not have to travel particularly with such an early throw-in and travel/overnight restrictions making journeys difficult for teams.
Tipperary and Waterford follow in the second quarter-final double-header.
Cork will head into the knockout game as favourites. Clare emerged second to Tipperary in a group of three, beating Dublin in the deciding game.
A first-round defeat to Tipperary on a scoreline of 0-20 to 1-8 Clare needed a favourable result against Dublin to see them through.
They got it with a 1-18 to 1-7 victory. Player of the match, Niamh O’Dea revealed that a desire to show the 'real Clare' fuelled their impressive second-half rally over Dublin.
“We had a lot to prove after the Tipp game and I think that’s a proper representation of this Clare team,” said O’Dea.
“Rain, hail or snow, we stuck to our game plan. We trusted ourselves, trusted the subs we had and the management.
“The work has gone in since before Covid and after Covid it’s been massive. But we’ll drive it on now for two weeks’ time in the quarter-final and hope we can put up a good show there and show what we’re about.
“It’s our first time in a quarter-final in a long time and we’re all just itching for that now and hopefully it goes our way.
“We know what we’re about and any side we meet in a quarter-final, we’re not going to fear them.”
Clare camogie boss Ger O’Connell is also hopeful that his charges’ confidence will have soared following the victory.
“There was a lot of negative talk after our game with Tipperary and rightly so, we didn’t perform on the day.
“Our second half against Dublin is what we expect from the group, the girls put in so much effort and work, we see it on the training field and to see that second half was really good, hopefully the confidence will build from that.
“At the start of the year you have your goals and aims, number one was to get out of the group no matter what, it hasn’t been done in a while, which is nothing against any previous management but it is a hard thing to get to the quarter-final. Goal one has been got, now we can go and have a right cut at this quarter-final.”
The former county goalkeeper felt an improvement was visible within their ranks and was a more significant factor for their progression to the quarter-finals rather than the advantage of being in a three-team group.
So, Clare will come to Cork hugely buoyed and take that enthusiasm onto the pitch against the rebels.
Inagh Kilnamona had an impressive win over Courcey Rovers in the Munster semi-final and Clare’s underage has made healthy strides over the past number of years.
Their focal point in attack is Áine O’Loughlin with Chloe Morey and Robyn Conway also a threat. Stalwart Laura McMahon has moved to the attack.
Niamh O’Dea at centre back is a pivotal player for Clare alongside Alannah Ryan as Clare’s hard work and support play has improved.
Despite that, considering Cork’s pedigree, it’s hard to see anything but a Cork win. The manner of their approach to the game and their performance from the throw-in is the critical factor.
Tipperary and Waterford will be a tightly fought contest. Aishling Moloney still sitting on the side-line due to a suspension is a bit loss. Expect this game to be a physical battle.
Both fixtures will be live on RTÉ Two and the RTÉ Player International with coverage beginning at 12.30pm.
Extra-time periods and frees competition will be applicable in both matches if required and the draw for the semi-finals will take place live on RTÉ at full-time of the second match to determine who will play Galway or Kilkenny in the semi-finals on Saturday November 28.
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