Form suggests Cork can see off Tribe to reach another All-Ireland camogie final

Form suggests Cork can see off Tribe to reach another All-Ireland camogie final
Galway's Heather Cooney with Cork's Ashling Thompson. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

SATURDAY All-Ireland camogie semi-finals: Kilkenny v Dublin, 5.15pm; Cork v Galway, 7pm, Gaelic Grounds.

PAUDIE Murray is certain about one thing with regards their chances ahead of the All-Ireland semi-final with Galway.

"It all boils down to two things on match day. Being composed and wanting it."

On the uncontrollable, the Cork manager is concerned about the influence the referee will have on the game. 

"You just don’t know what you’re heading into on Saturday and Mark Dunne (Galway manager) would be in the same position. You discuss with your players before games what you can and can’t do yet you can go into a league final such as this year where there were five frees in the first half, where everything went. 

"Then you go to a Munster final and you’ve 41 frees. Bottom line is that you expect referees to get the big calls right and I just think that it (the standard) hasn’t improved."

Paudie certainly has the credentials to air such views, having been involved in camogie a long time, first as manager of Cloughduv and Cork for the past six seasons.

It’s true that behind closed doors the refereeing is a certain way yet when it comes to live TV, it can be very different. 

But at this stage of their careers, the players know that a game can go either way and they must tune in very quickly as to a referee’s style on a particular day and adjust accordingly.

Galway did look good in their quarter-final but Tipperary fell well below senior standard. They were slow, sluggish, and not at the level of fitness required. They got to a quarter final winning just one group game so it was no surprise really.

Galway can produce moments of impressive hurling and teamwork. The concern in their camp is that they don’t consistently produce that for a full hour. They won’t have learned a huge amount from the quarter-final. 

How Galway set up their 15 will have a big bearing on their fortunes. If they attempt to pull out their forwards and create space, it won’t happen. 

They have attacking midfielders in Ann Marie Starr and Niamh Kilkenny. If they hold 15 on 15 and run at Cork they have a better chance of upsetting a solid defence where Laura Treacy, Pam Mackey, Rena Buckley and Gemma O’Connor are as experienced and solid as you’ll get in the game, in front of the best goalkeeper in the country.

Chloe Sigerson has given Cork greater options as while she has maintained a left-half back position it has freed up a top-class substitute in Eimear O’Sullivan. Eimear, who is flying in training, may well start though, for Maebh Cahalane, in completing the back six. 

Cahalane is struggling for a while with a form of tendinitis in her Achilles tendon and isn’t 100% right. Cork haven’t had a clear injury free run all year. 

Julia White continues to be protected in that when she’s on the pitch she’s superb but suffers extreme tightness around the Achilles area and management have to be careful with her. There is every chance due to this that Cork will keep her as an impact sub rather than starting. While that may be disappointing for Julia, what an impact sub to have.

Physically Cork are a stronger team than Galway. And they have speed with it. Down the middle you have Gemma O’Connor, Ashling Thompson, and Hannah Looney alongside Orla Cotter, Laura Treacy, Pam Mackey and Niamh McCarthy.

Galway have handy forwards and I believe that Cork will man-mark – to a certain degree. If the likes of Ailish O’Reilly and Niamh McGrath drift out, Cork’s back six will left them off, they’ll do little damage from 60 metres out.

Siobhan McGrath has come onto the Galway panel this year at left corner forward and has done well, albeit she is slight in stature and won’t have it too easy on whoever takes her up and I’m assuming Laura Treacy will be given the task.

Libby Coppinger and Ashling Thompson should hold the centre-field positions but the same fixtures problem that has plauged the game before has arisen, with the ladies’ footballers and camogie clash. 

Cork have options on the bench, they are playing more direct and they should be hungry to get back into an All-Ireland final. If the game is tight heading down the straight Cork typically finish strong and Galway tend to fade. 

If Cork take a healthy lead I also don’t expect Galway to have the composure and belief to pull them back. Cork to win.

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