Cork Camogie: Linda Mellerick previews four exciting senior quarter-finals

Cork Camogie: Linda Mellerick previews four exciting senior quarter-finals
Ballygarvan's Michaela Buckley pulls away from Milford's Nicole O'Connor in the SE Systems Senior Camogie Championship match in Castle Road. Picture: Howard Crowdy

SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP:
Saturday: Sarsfields v Douglas, Castle Road, 3pm; Sunday: Killeagh v Ballygarvan, 12.30pm; Glen Rovers v Seandún, 3.30pm; Courcey Rovers v Newcestown, 6.30pm, all games Castle Road.

AS the SE Systems Senior Camogie Championship moves expediently towards the latter stages, it’s hugely disappointing that these games are behind closed doors.

We have some great pairings this weekend in round four, the round before the quarter-finals.

The mouth-watering tie of the weekend must be Glen Rovers versus Seandún. Both sides were impressive in their opening rounds.

Best seat in the house as residents on Castle Road watch Glen Rovers and Sarsfields. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Best seat in the house as residents on Castle Road watch Glen Rovers and Sarsfields. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The Glen gave possibly their best performance of the last few years against the champions, Sarsfields. Seandún gave a strong team display against Imokilly, which put clubs on alert. What may throw a little doubt on Seandún’s potential is the strength of Imokilly.

The east Cork divisional side received a hiding from newcomers, Newcestown, in the back door last weekend. Considering Newcestown are senior debutants, the margin of that victory leaves question marks over just how good Imokilly were and, by reference, Seandún.

It’s a question that hangs out there.

But Seandún do have a very strong team and that is also a reason to believe their game against the Glen should be a cracker.

Amy Lee, in goal, behind a strong defence that includes Courtney O’Keeffe, Niamh O’Leary, and Michelle Murphy, leads up to a midfield where the Glen need to consider options if things aren’t going well.

Susan Kate Brosnan and Katlyn Hickey are two attacking players and cover huge ground. Susan Kate will cover every blade.

Up front, the spread of fast, scoring forwards is plentiful in Lauren Homan, Hayley Ryan, Sinead Mills, and Laura O’Neill.

The Glen’s victory over Sars bore the hallmarks of a confident, evenly balanced side. It was great to see a spread of forwards hitting the mark. With Katie Walsh in top form, and Kayleigh O’Sullivan and Lydia Cunningham, the Glen will also need Emma Murphy on the scoring sheet and midfield may be too far out to capitalise there.

Glen Rovers' Katie Walsh is tackled by Sarsfields' Ellen Murphy. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Glen Rovers' Katie Walsh is tackled by Sarsfields' Ellen Murphy. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Nora O’Riordan is one of the most skilful players in the game and the right position needs to be found to get the most out of her. Denise Luby will be unerring from frees.

Glen’s half-back line was its launching pad, with the excellent Karen O’Connell and Lauren Callanan on fire. Add in the experience of Leanne O’Sullivan and it’s a strong one.

Sars and Douglas could also be a close affair. 

Ballincollig's Patricia Buttimer hammers home her goal against Douglas. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Ballincollig's Patricia Buttimer hammers home her goal against Douglas. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Douglas improved a lot from their opening defeat to St Finbarr’s. Against Ballincollig, they scored an impressive 3-19 from five contributors. Katrina Mackey again topped the board, with 12 points, seven from frees. It’s fine to say Sars need to hold Katrina, but it isn’t that easy. 

She’s evasive and seems to be really enjoying her game. I think a lot of inter-county players are loving this club focus and are thriving. Pamela Mackey and Julia White will again be prominent; Jessica Kavanagh gives confidence to those in front of her; Mairéad Mulrooney is finding the target, and Joy Leo will always be a handful.

When you’re the champions, every team will raise their performance against you. Therefore, you need to up your game from your victorious year. Sars are encountering hard challenges to their crown. But that’s to be expected and they’ll develop with it. 

Olivia McAllen, Sarsfields, battling Ciara Hughes, Cloughduv. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Olivia McAllen, Sarsfields, battling Ciara Hughes, Cloughduv. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

The Cork championship is a tight one, with five teams capable of winning it. Holly Herlihy is showing leadership up front. Sars’ substitutes against Cloughduv proved match-defining when things got sticky and it’s that competition for places that could increase the intensity they bring to the pitch.

Full credit to Ballygarvan for overcoming a strong Milford challenge. Their more economical use of possession saw them over the line by five points. A young side, with the experience of the long-serving and talented Catriona Kelly, Ballygarvan hit three goals.

Against a strong Killeagh defence and Stephanie Beausang in goal, picking off points from distance will also be required. Killeagh have strong hopes of reaching this year’s final, after their agonising semi-final replay defeat in 2019. They’re testing things positionally and will go into this game as favourites.

Courcey Rovers will face Newcestown, where they’ll head in as strong favourites. If Newcestown’s year should end here, they’ll have had a great season. But that won’t be on their agenda.

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