TWO games and two wins for Cork in the Littlewoods National Camogie League and you can’t ask for any more than that.
With the weather seeing their games against Clare and Offaly postponed it meant a longer wait than usual for Cork to get back on the pitch.
And yesterday not only did they have to battle their arch-rivals, but they also had to battle the conditions with a hail storm in the second-half, driving into the faces of the Cork defence.
Any time that Cork face the Cats you know it’s going to be a battle and if you are not up for it then you will be beaten. Right from the off yesterday you could see that the Rebels were determined not to let this one slip and they were going to add to their points tally.
With a number of changes from the team announced it meant a move to midfield for Chloe Sigerson, alongside Ashling Thompson. Aoife O’Neill, from the Barrs, made her senior debut in defence and it’s one she can be proud of.
Defensively Cork looked very strong, with the likes of Laura Treacy, Hannah Looney, Libby Coppinger and Laura Hayes outstanding.
Sigerson played a key role in midfield and Thompson, once again, showed just what Cork missed when she didn’t play last season.
Her tenacity in the middle of the pitch is crucial for Cork and they will be hoping the form she has shown in the two league games will continue all through the season.
Up front Orla Cronin is as good as any free-taker, hurling or camogie, in the country and no matter how difficult the angle she doesn’t miss too often.
Linda Collins leads the full-forward line and in Amy O’Connor they have an outstanding captain.
She certainly leads by example and gave it everything over the 60 minutes. It was her goal early in the second-half that settled Cork, when Kilkenny were getting a bit of a foothold in the game.
Amy drove at their defence all through and had their been a Player of the Game award it would have been hard to look beyond her.
Afterwards she was delighted with the win saying: “Anytime you are playing Kilkenny you know it’s going to be a tough battle and we expected nothing less from them.
“Conditions were fairly bad as well and make it difficult at times to play, but we are delighted to get the win.
“We have a few new players and in fairness to Paudie (Murray) he is giving everyone a chance and that is good for them but also keeps the players that are there for a while on their toes.
“It people aren’t doing it on the pitch then others will get their chance and it keeps it competitive for everyone which is good for us. There is good competition there at the moment to try and get into the starting 15.
“It settled us a bit but it didn’t as much as I would have liked as they got a few scores after, but we settled then and I thought we finished the game out well,” concluded Amy.
The win puts Cork in a strong position in the league ahead of a difficult away game against Offaly next Saturday.
But on this performance then the Rebels are going to be one of the teams to beat again this year.
Cork v Kilkenny, Talking Points:
1. DEFENCE: Cork have always had a strong defence, but with the likes of Aoife Murray retiring and Gemma O’Connor still undecided it was an area that some would have been concerned about, writes Rory Noonan.
Yesterday Amy Lee look assured in goal and Laura Hayes was outstanding at centre-back.
Add in the likes of Laura Treacy and Hannah Looney and this defence will take some beating. They have a nice blend of youth and experience and with others like Leanne O’Sullivan and Libby Coppinger to call on as well there will be serious competition to get a starting spot in the championship defence.
2. TENACITY: The determination and tenacity in the tackle was of the highest standard yesterday, led by the midfield pairing of Chloe Sigerson and Ashling Thompson.
Both were superb and controlled the game from the middle of the pitch. But the forwards have to also be complemented here as they made if difficult for the Kilkenny defence to clear their lines and they turned over several balls that then led to Cork scores.
3. CAPTAIN: Whilst one player doesn’t make a team, one player can certainly set the tone and in Amy O’Connor Cork have a captain who does so.
Her work-rate can only be applauded and admired and she set the tone for her team-mates yesterday.
As well as getting a crucial goal at the start of the second-half she was involved in many of their good moves and no doubt her display helped to lift all those around her.