SATURDAY: Liberty Insurance Senior Championship: Cork v Tipperary, CIT, 5pm.
ON the back of a comfortable first round victory over Clare Cork have home advantage this Saturday as they take on Tipperary in Round 2 of the Liberty Insurance group senior championship tie.
The game kicks off at 5pm and with the Cork senior footballers playing in Páirc Uí Chaoimh at 7pm, it is a throw in time that is going to ensure primarily family and friends will make the trip to the College venue.
Trailing by four points with four minutes of normal time remaining against Waterford last weekend, Tipperary’s game was abandoned due to what was considered a serious injury to Nicole Walsh.
Waterford will be disappointed with that as it was a big scalp for them but the welfare at the time of Nicole was all both sides were concerned about and correctly the fixture was postponed to another date. Thankfully Nicole is expected to make a full recovery having suffered from concussion but will not line out tomorrow.
Cork were expected to win comfortably against Clare, the only question was how much the winning margin would be. It turned out to be 19 points and while that’s impressive Cork weren’t fully out of the traps for their opener. Expect them to be sharper tomorrow.
Amy O’Connor is in flying form and Linda Collins is also going very well. Linda was rested last Saturday but will likely start this time around. Julia White, Orla Cotter, Niamh McCarthy, Orla Cronin and Katrina Mackey are the main players looking to fill the final four positions.
Make no mistake but that a defeat to Waterford would have been a big setback to Tipperary had the game finished out the way it was headed, and it shows just how far they’ve regressed.
Niamh O’Callaghan started against Clare. Pam Mackey, Laura Treacy, Hannah Looney, Gemma O’Connor and Chloe Sigerson were the other back five.
I expect Paudie Murray to change things up again this week with Laura Hayes, Ciara Healy, Saoirse McCarthy and Ciara McCarthy available. Lauren Homan is injured but there are a number of players that could be given a championship run.
Ashling Thompson who removed herself from the panel is a huge loss of course. There’s no doubt that she is a powerhouse at midfield or in the half-back line, powering forward. While Cork won’t feel her absence during the group stages, it’s later in the year that the Milford player will be sorely missed.
Players retire, and counties move on but Ashling is far from retirement age. Maybe the door isn’t fully closed yet and there’s another episode to this saga yet.
Expect Cork to take another three points on Saturday evening.