Late switch to Croke Park gave Cork a dry run before All-Ireland against Dublin

IT was a strange week for the Cork ladies footballers but one that ended well as they progressed to the TG4 All-Ireland football final.

Speaking after the victory over Galway in the semi-final, their coach Paddy O'Shea reflected on this and also on the double change of venue, which included the game starting earlier than planned.

“It was a strange day and week, first of all during the week having the game changed from Limerick to Dublin,” said the St Vincent's club man. 

“We got all our ducks in a row for that and we had all our arrangements in place and about 90 minutes before we left the hotel we got a phone call to say the match was moved to Croke Park (Parnell Park pitch was frozen).

“Again a bit of chopping and changing and a bit of rushing around but I think we dealt with it fine in the end.

“The girls dealt with it very well and we just kept on saying to them, stay calm, stay calm. The plan doesn't change, the warm-up might be a bit shorter with the change of time but everything we planned on doing we were still going to bring forward, just a different venue that's all.”

Their two first-half goals, from Melissa Duggan and Ciara O'Sullivan were big scores, especially as Galway's preparations had been knocked off-kilter.

“I thought once we got the two goals we managed the game very well, Ashley Hutchings at centre-back was awesome and was pulling the strings. 

"She was moving pieces around the pitch like a chess puzzle. Our game management was something we have been very conscious of and had to improve and to be fair it came from the girls.

“The leadership shown on the pitch was extraordinary really. They are delighted with the win, but all it has bought them is another two weeks of winter training in the cold weather.

“Then in two weeks, we will be back up here to play Dublin in the final. So in the end it worked out well for us really that the game was switched as it was a dry run for us for the final now on December 20.

“They are the benchmark for the last three years or so and are going for four in-a-row and we have a huge job ahead of us. But we will spend the next two weeks preparing for that challenge and do the best job we can."

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