Comeback queen Corkery will play a key role as Cork bid to hold off Kilkenny

Comeback queen Corkery will play a key role as Cork bid to hold off Kilkenny
Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/SPORTSFILE

CORK legend Briege Corkery could start this Sunday’s All-Ireland final against Kilkenny and is certain to play a major part following her return to the panel.

The 17-time All-Ireland winner recently rejoined the squad having been absent last year, while her son Tadhg was born in March, and was introduced late on in the semi-final victory over Tipp.

Rebel boss Paudie Murray is thrilled to have her back in the fold and has no doubt she’s ready to make a significant contribution as Cork bid to retain the title.

“The first night she showed at training in mid-July, the welcome she got at Castle Road was excellent. Her effort is superb. Her conditioning coach Martin O’Brien and my brother Kevin have been blown away the way things have improved for her.

“She is in great shape going into the final and so, who knows.”

Cork manager Paudie Murray and Briege Corkery celebrate in 2014. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Cork manager Paudie Murray and Briege Corkery celebrate in 2014. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Corkery was in top form for Cloughduv against St Catherine’s in the club championship last month.

“Briege has matured. She is now playing her position. Briege used to go through games trying to do everything. Briege could start, the way she is going at the moment.

“I wouldn’t be a bit afraid of throwing her in from the start if things continue to go well in training.”

A concern for management heading into a third consecutive final against Kilkenny has to be that they’ve not been tested this summer.

Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane
Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

Cork’s average winning margin stands at 18 points, with the 0-21 to 0-9 semi-final victory over Tipperary the closest any county has come to them in the championship.

“We know what it takes to win a final and what it takes to lose one, as well. Just hoping that bit of experience will help us through.

“Our panel is in far better shape than it was in 2016. We have impact subs that have come in and made the difference. Look at the semi-final.

“Two subs come in, three scores between them. We are in a stronger position that way. Now, you don’t like losing two players from last year’s final, two All-Stars, they being Rena Buckley and Eimear O’Sullivan.”

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