Make or break time for Cork ladies footballers in Killarney

Make or break time for Cork ladies footballers in Killarney
Cork's Libby Coppiner with the ball against Waterford's Katie Murray. Picture: Sean Byrne//Deise Sport

SATURDAY Munster SFC Cork v Kerry, Fitzgerald Stadium, 6pm

THIS game is likely to be the making or breaking of Cork’s season.

That might seem like a bold statement, but it’s true. The time to step up is now, and following on from their opening defeat in the Munster Senior Football Championship away to Waterford two weeks ago, Cork will need, and want, to dot that tonight in Fitzgerald Stadium.

Kerry too however have a point to prove, and always in Killarney it adds fuel to the fire of this rivalry.

It hasn’t been the Kingdom’s most prolific season yet but they’ll be looking to make things happen tonight too, and although neither side will be completely out of the championship should they lose, it’s all about getting back on track.

For Cork it will be about putting in a performance.

That’s always been how they’ve gauged themselves with every single game they’ve played, and it’s always helped them raise the bar when it comes to their own individual displays, and their collective one too.

Against Waterford in Fraher Field a fortnight ago, the intensity we saw in the Division 1 National League final at the start of May wasn’t there.

For some reason it wasn’t there, and more often than not, you can’t pin point why.

But, perhaps that defeat to a hungrier side is exactly what they needed to shake them back into the reality of championship mode.

It’s a tough one to get right following on from a league victory, to get back into the swing of things.

And so, that’s where things really come into play, not just this evening, but in terms of setting the tone for the championship.

And rest assured, if Cork put in a performance in Fitzgerald Stadium, they’ll only be too delighted to have to raise their game again against a Waterford side who are awaiting the winners in the provincial final on July 8.

Speaking to the Evening Echo yesterday, interim captain Brid O’Sullivan gave a hint at why you think things might turn right again for Cork. Well, bar the obvious in that they have to win, not necessarily in order to win, but for their own self-esteem.

“It’s an opportunity to put things right. We felt that we left ourselves down the last day, so that’s how we’re looking at it - it’s an opportunity to fix things and put in a performance.

“I wouldn’t say there was anything in particular that led to the loss against Waterford, but, if you really look at it, our intensity wasn’t where it should have been, and that’s definitely something we have to bring to Killarney.

“To be fair to Waterford, they’ve been motoring well and they’ve beaten Kerry too, and other than that result I’m not really sure how Kerry are going. We only played them once in the League this year, and that was the very first game, but they’re always a fierce side.

“It’s a must-win for them as well in the sense that whoever wins this one is into the Munster final, so we won’t be taking them for granted.

“They’ll definitely be up for it, and whenever it is a Cork and Kerry game, you have to be up for it because there’s so much rivalry there from over the years. So, going down there will a tough, but I think that adds to us having to bring our game even more,” O’Sullivan added.

Cork, of course, will be without captain Ciara O’Sullivan who does not return from her travels until the end of the month, while her younger sister Doireann is also ruled out given that she underwent keyhole surgery recently.

A six-week layoff had been predicted, but it’s understood that O’Sullivan’s recovery may be sooner rather than later.

Elsewhere, Cavan and Monaghan will meet to decide who will join Donegal in the Ulster final following Donegal’s come-from-behind victory over Armagh last weekend.

Verdict: Cork.

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