Cork boss hoping Gemma O'Connor will commit to playing with Cork this year

Cork boss hoping Gemma O'Connor will commit to playing with Cork this year

Cork camogie star Gemma O'Connor on the walkways near Blarney

CORK camogie boss Paudie Murray is keeping his fingers crossed that veteran ace Gemma O’Connor will once more rally to the Rebels cause for yet another championship campaign.

A winner of nine All-Ireland medals and 10 All Star awards, O’Connor made her senior inter-county debut back in 2002, and is now 35 years of age.

But Murray has still not ruled out the possibility of the St Finbarr’s club player linking up with his panel for the forthcoming championship clashes against Offaly, Wexford and reigning All-Ireland champions Galway.

Because of her involvement in the local championship, the Cork supremo deliberately avoided making contact with the highly versatile player until her involvement in that competition had run its course.

Cork's Gemma O'Connor in action against Offaly's Orlaigh Kirwan. Pic: Gavin Browne
Cork's Gemma O'Connor in action against Offaly's Orlaigh Kirwan. Pic: Gavin Browne

However, owing to the Barr’s defeat by Inniscarra in the county senior semi-final, Murray is now in a position where he can ascertain if O’Connor still possesses the desire and the hunger to extend her illustrious inter-county career for yet another campaign in pursuit of O’Duffy Cup glory.

And commenting on his hopes for O’Connor, Murray said: “I don’t see any reason why Gemma O’Connor could not play for Cork once again in this year’s championship.

“Hurling-wise and physically-wise, that definitely would be no problem for her – it would be a different matter if she would not be up to it in those very important aspects for a player.

“So I’d say that Gemma's decision will probably boil down to whether or not she has the desire to make herself available for the games against Offaly, Wexford and Galway.

“I think it often happens that when a player who has been around for a good number of years decides to retire from inter-county camogie that six or 12 months later they’re seriously regretting the fact that they didn’t continue on for another year.

Cork’s Gemma O'Connor with Julie Ann Malone of Kilkenny
Cork’s Gemma O'Connor with Julie Ann Malone of Kilkenny

“So hopefully Gemma will make herself available for this year’s championship,” added Murray, whose charges open their campaign away to Offaly on October 17/18, have home advantage against Wexford on October 31/November 1, and travel to All-Ireland champions Galway on November November 7/8.

In contrast to his hopes for Gemma O’Connor, it is almost certain that the Cork supremo will have to plan without the services of the extremely experienced Orla Cotter for this year’s competition.

A winner of seven All-Ireland medals and five All Star awards, the midfield ace is now living in the US in the wake of her husband securing an employment position in New York earlier this year.

“We would love to have Orla with us again this year, but with the ban of travel because of the Covid-19 restrictions that looks to be very unlikely,” remarked Murray on the 32-year-old St Catherine’s player who made her senior inter-county debut back in 2006.

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