Camogie's greatest rivals Cork and Kilkenny collide once more

Camogie's greatest rivals Cork and Kilkenny collide once more
Cork's Orla Cotter and Edwina Keane with Claire Phelan of Kilkenny. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

SUNDAY: Littlewoods Div 1 National League semi-final: Cork v Kilkenny, WIT, 2pm.

OLD rivals Cork and Kilkenny meet once again this time it’s a place in the Littlewoods Division 1 of the National League final that is the prize on offer to the victors.

These two sides know each other inside out and one gets the impression either would have preferred to have met either Galway or Limerick who contest the other semi-final.

Cork finished joint tops in their group on the same points as Galway but with Galway having notched up a massive score against a depleted Wexford they topped the group on scoring difference. It took a Michelle Quilty injury time point to put Kilkenny tops as they grabbed a late winner against Limerick.

During the league, Paudie Murray has been introducing new players to his line out and players such as Laura Hayes, Ciara McCarthy, Cliona Healy, Saoirse McCarthy, and Siobhan Hutchinson have been introduced to life at the top level and have acquitted themselves well.

In the clash with Galway, Cork welcomed back Pamela Mackey playing in her first game since the All-Ireland final, whilst Julia white was introduced as substitutes. Leanne O’Sullivan and Katriona Mackey were on the injury list for the Galway game.

Aoife Murray, who missed the game with Galway as she was out of the country but she is back and raring to go.

Briege Corkery takes on Kilkenny in 2013. Picture: Richard Mills
Briege Corkery takes on Kilkenny in 2013. Picture: Richard Mills

Briege Corkery didn’t feature against Galway having lined out at centre-back against Waterford and she will be another option available.

Whilst Cork have been rotating players through the campaign they are still very much built around their experienced players Gemma O’Connor, Aisling Thompson and Orla Cotter continue to lead the way whilst Chloe Sigerson continues her good form of 2018 in defence alongside her club colleague Laura Treacy.

Cork had to battle back from a dreadful start against Galway after conceding two goals inside four minutes but they showed huge character as they worked away and whittled down the Galway lead to earn them a draw as Orla Cotter pointed a last minute 45.

Kilkenny had to battle hard to grab the top spot in their group, Denise Gaule excelled at full forward against Limerick in the last game in the group with three points from play and with Anna Farrell, Anne Dalton and continuing to lead the way they will be confident of keeping their quest for four in a row of league titles alive.

Amy O’Connor goes past Grace Walsh. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Amy O’Connor goes past Grace Walsh. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

The sides met twice last season with Kilkenny taking the league title but Cork bounced back and in dramatic fashion grabbed the All-Ireland title as Orla Cotter landed a massive free between the posts.

All through nothing has ever divided these sides and we can expect the same on Sunday, as always Kilkenny will be fired up and determined to get one over on Cork. 

Paudie Murray will as always be more concerned about the bigger picture and it will be a huge test for the players that he has introduced to his team. A big game is where he will learn the most about these players.

In the second semi-final an ever-improving Galway take on Limerick side that are shown this year they mean business they ran Kilkenny so close and they will take huge encouragement from this.

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