AHEAD of Cork’s opening championship game against Dublin at Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday afternoon, Cork camogie manager Paudie Murray is very clear on what he wants to get out of his team.
“We will expect to win all our games but only if we respect the opposition.
“We will take every game seriously and we want to top the group. That’s the target.”
He addressed the issue regarding the gap that’s there between the top four and the rest.
“The biggest issue out there is that the physicality that has come into the game with the new rule has widened the gap further due to the conditioning element of the top teams.
If you look at the Limericks, the Clares, all these teams, they are a long way off from a conditioning point of view.
“And if they’re going to get to the top table they’re going to have to put massive hours into improving that side.”
It’s hard to do that when a management team is constantly changing, such as in Limerick?
“That’s a fair point but this has to be driven by their county boards.”
Unlike GAA and the funding that’s been there to now, this doesn’t get driven by camogie boards. Conditioning at underage, even minor, isn’t on their radar with lack of money a hindrance.
It’s the manager that comes in and starts the process and if it isn’t continued throughout the grades under new and various managers then it’ll fall down. It took Murray a few years to get his teams to where he wanted and he finds that as players step up to the senior grade they have an awful lot to do to catch up to their teammates who are in their third plus seasons.
“Cork must stay on top of that or we will get left behind,” he said.
As regards who he feels will emerge from the respective three groups, Paudie made these predictions.
“The groups for the top tier are predictable enough, obviously Cork, Galway, Kilkenny with it being a toss of a coin between Galway and Kilkenny as to who tops Group 3. You’d expect Tipperary to top their group.
"So we could be playing Galway or Kilkenny in a quarter-final as the top of each group go into one bowl, two will go straight to a semi-final and the third ball goes back to select two quarter-finals with the three runners-up.
“So one of those teams is going to be Galway or Kilkenny.
I’d fancy Wexford to get through as I rate Kevin Tattan highly.
“So our focus must be on a possible quarter-final with Galway or Kilkenny.
“And to get there we must first do a job on Sunday against Dublin and that’s where our short-term focus is at present.”
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