The Paudie Palmer column: Hailing the unsung heroes of Cork GAA

Rebel teams delivered in ladies football, camogie, hurling and football. Can it be like that every weekend!
The Paudie Palmer column: Hailing the unsung heroes of Cork GAA

West Cork's Melissa Duggan and Mourneabbeys' Bríd O'Sullivan battle it out. They both represent Cork at senior level. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE focus this week is on acknowledging the victorious Rebel quadruple of the past weekend.

Making it a wee bit more special, was the fact, that all components of the Cork GAA family were contributors.

The ladies footballers got their All-Ireland campaign up and running with a narrow victory over Meath; the vital score coming from the Kilavullen muinteoir Brid O’Sullivan, who plays her club football with Mourneabbey.

For this scribbler at least, this lady who is no relation to, shall we say the better known O’Sullivan family, is some serious blue-collar grafter. She has been part of this panel for a few years now and can operate at any position from midfield up.

Her role is vital as a supply line to the main shooters, Orla Finn, Sadhbh O’Leary, and Ciara O’Sullivan.

Some observers would have been surprised that the outcome was so close, but this Meath team have been on a upward trajectory winning the recent Division 2 final against Kerry.

Cork play Tipperary next weekend and they should win and qualify for the quarter-final.

However, there is no doubting that Dublin are the main opposition again and whereas one or two questions have arisen about the male blue machine, the exact opposite appears to be case with the ladies.

Cork will point to a few injury issues particularly in relation to Doireann O’Sullivan but with the condensed season, there is little room for infirmary recoveries. But we live in hope.

Staying with the ladies, the U16 camogie team had an empathic win over Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final and will meet Kilkenny in the final. In the past, we would have been a little critical of the Cork camogie government when it came to promoting the game. The situation wasn’t helped by the fact that there was no county board PRO in 2020.

Over the past while though, we have noticed a significant increase in dispatches and also increased social media activity. We are informed that an amount of credit for this very positive development must go to the new PRO Louise Weldon from the Blackrock club.

As well as her own huge input, I have no doubt that there are others involved. I also have no doubt also that all of this work is done on a voluntary basis, so credit where credit is due.

Remaining with the publicity theme, I hope now that the management of the county senior camogie team will realise the PR value to the association of releasing a team to the press at least 48 hours prior to throw- in.

They open their All-Ireland campaign against Dublin on Sunday in Páirc Uí Rinn at 2pm.

If the management of the Cork senior hurlers, senior footballers, and ladies footballers engage in practice of releasing teams, why not the camogie management?

SOLID

The county footballers did what they had to do against Limerick and if the victory didn’t cause the bookmakers to alter odds, the result did mean that Cork had reached its season’s objectives.

In case you have forgotten, the said objective was to maintain their Division 2 status and get to the Munster final.

Some would argue that such aims amount to white flag activity and not until defeating Kerry becomes the norm, football will continue to occupy second grade status in the county.

It is a valid point.

Some of the statistics from Saturday’s game only serve to highlight the gulf in standards that exist between the southern rivals at this stage.

Only two Cork forwards got on the score-sheet, a fairly worrying scenario.

However, maybe such a fact is a simplistic analytical approach. Take Ruairí Deane, one of those who didn’t raise a flag, but he was involved in about seven scores, including John O’Rourke’s goal. Defenders, Sean Powter, Mattie Taylor, Sean Meehan and sub Cian Kiely made scoring contributions and I doubt if that would have happened were it not for significant off-the-ball movement by some of those in artillery positions.

One could go on, but for the moment, we will go with this statistic.

The last time Kerry lost a championship game in Killarney was 26 years ago in 1995. Since then they have won 36 championship encounters at the beautiful venue.

PAY OFF

The U20 hurling victory over Dublin was one welcome development.

The win, though expected, was a testing enough affair due to Dublin’s second-half comeback. Details of the victory have been well chronicled on other pages of this publication so here are few personal observations.

I revert back to the chart that found its way on to a Sunday Game programme a few years ago which highlighted the barren trophy landscape that prevailed in Cork at the time in relation to major underage county and schools titles.

On the face of it, some viewed it as compelling evidence that Cork were operating from a coaching philosophy crafted during the dark ages.

What it did not show was that development work was already underway in this county and the fruits of some of it were evidenced by Saturday night’s victory.

It was noteworthy that, in the aftermath, team manager Pat Ryan made a point of mentioning the personnel involved in previous management teams and their invaluable contribution.

It demonstrated his sense of awareness of the process involved not to mention his huge sense of decency. Well done to all involved.

Contact: paudie.palmer@hotmail.com Twitter: @paudiep

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