Cork need to get focus right for championship

Right now the Cork players must be feeling like Dublin did for many years, when no matter what they did they simply couldn't beat the Rebels.
Cork need to get focus right for championship

Orla Finn of Cork in action against Martha Byrne of Dublin during the Lidl Ladies Football National League Division 1 Final match between Cork and Dublin at Croke Park in Dublin

THE Cork ladies footballers face into the championship in two weeks time as they take on Meath in their opening game.

They will do so having lost both the All-Ireland championship and league finals to Dublin in recent months.

Last December Dublin retained their All-Ireland title and last Saturday night they added the league to their growing list of honours.

It was only Dublin's second league title win, the other being 2018, but with the shortened season they took it more seriously than they do most years.

For Dublin, like their men, it's all about the championship and on present form it's difficult to see anyone stopping them.

In the league, bar Cork, they brushed all their opponents aside and realistically only the Rebels are in with a chance of stopping them making it five in-a-row this year.

Right now the Cork players must be feeling like Dublin did for many years, when no matter what they did they simply couldn't beat the Rebels.

But huge credit must go to the likes of Sinead Aherne, Carla Rowe and Niamh McEvoy, who despite defeat after defeat kept coming back year after year and now they are the ones celebrating on a regular basis.

Cork will have their day in the sun again, of that you can be sure, but just when is impossible to tell.

When they look back at the league campaign there are plenty of positives they can take from it. The emergence of new players like Sadhbh O'Leary and the return of Eimear Scally are worth noting.

O'Leary is still very young but has shown enough to ensure she will have a long career in the red jersey. Around her are the likes of Ciara O'Sullivan, Orla Finn and Scally, amongst others, who are players she can only learn from and help her to improve game by game.

Scally is the type of forward any inter-county side wants, she can go left or right and with one drop of her shoulder will be past you before you know what's happening.

Orla Finn of Cork in action against Martha Byrne of Dublin during the Lidl Ladies Football National League Division 1 Final match between Cork and Dublin at Croke Park in Dublin
Orla Finn of Cork in action against Martha Byrne of Dublin during the Lidl Ladies Football National League Division 1 Final match between Cork and Dublin at Croke Park in Dublin

She also has the knack of finding the back of the net at the right time and has and will again, score many crucial goals for Cork.

Others like Meabh Cahalane have been involved with the panel for a few years and she is having her best season in some time. Being a dual star is not easy and the clash of fixtures at times must be disheartening, but they get on with it and some of them were out again on Sunday with the camogie side having lost the final on Saturday.

But the league has to fade into the memories of Cork now and their concentration has to be on the championship, starting with Meath in two weeks time.

Anyone who thinks this will be an easy game is very much mistaken and Cork will be coming up against a team high in confidence.

They won the intermediate All-Ireland last year and added the Division Two league title to their trophy cabinet last Saturday night.

They are a serious outfit and Cork can't afford to take them lightly. Of course there is a big step up to championship at the top level and the Rebels will be expected to win.

But Meath will be on the hunt for an upset and won't be beaten easily.

Cork have a bit of work to do to get themselves right for this one and will need to get a bit of confidence back, after their loss to Dublin.

But they have the players to lift the side and captain Martina O'Brien is one of them. The league final was hardly over and her attention was already switching to Meath.

Have no doubt when they meet up tomorrow night to begin preparations for the All-Ireland series she will be there to lift them all and help to get their heads right for the campaign ahead.

There is no shortage of skill in the Cork panel and once they can get their heads right then have no doubt they will drive on and few would predict against them and Dublin meeting again in the All-Ireland final come September.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

jerseywarslogosml
votetextheader

jerseysformpu
echolive

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more