Cork camogie squad has real depth up front for Waterford clash

Paudie Murray and his selectors have eight viable options to start in the attack
Cork camogie squad has real depth up front for Waterford clash

Cork's Saoirse McCarthy is tackled by Kilkenny's Niamh Deely. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

SATURDAY: All-Ireland camogie championship: Cork v Waterford, Páirc Ui Rínn, Saturday, 5pm.

CORK are already qualified for a quarter-final spot in this year’s senior camogie championship with their home game against Waterford tomorrow determining who finishes top of Group 2. 

Cork and Waterford lead the group on six points each, Cork in command with a plus 20-point scoring difference. 

Waterford stunned Dublin last weekend into a comprehensive defeat, 2-17 to 0-9 and no one saw that coming. Cork defeated Dublin by 2-19 to 0-12 the previous week.

After losing a league relegation playoff to Dublin by a point, 1-11 to 1-10 in mid-June no one expected Waterford to turn that around so heavily on a Dublin team who have a spring in their step since the introduction of Adrian O’Sullivan as manager and a new backroom team.

The fact that Waterford recorded this win in the Capital at Skerries Harps is even more commendable. 

Beth Carton kept the scoreboard ticking over and goals from Niamh Rockett and Abby Flynn, after outstanding vision by Carton, opened a nine-point margin and with Dublin only managing two points after the change of ends, it was a cruise to the end for Derek Lyons’ outfit.

With regards quarter-final qualification that win was significant for Waterford as it means they now cannot be caught by either Dublin or Down. Cork will be favourites to finish top of their group by Saturday evening meaning Waterford will finish second and go into a quarter-final. 

Indeed, even if Cork top their group, they too could be drawn into a quarter-final situation as the top placed in each of the three groups are drawn from a bowl, with the first two heading straight to a semi-final and the third drawn going into a quarter-final playoff with second-placed in each group.

Cork will have washed the tiredness out of their bodies after their trip to Newry last Saturday. It might not have been a convincing performance, but Cork did enough, and victory was never in doubt. 

With the Cork ladies’ footballers also playing Waterford in their quarter-final on Sunday, Cork’s game is fixed for Saturday at 5pm. An earlier start would have suited the dual players better.

Cork’s management have a welcomed selection headache, particularly up front. Ciara O’Sullivan and Fiona Keating are both performing well. 

Ciara has a very strong work rate and Fiona has done a great job in nullifying the influence of centre backs. 

Orla Cronin has recovered from injury and has been a leader in Cork’s forward line the past few seasons. 

Add in Linda Collins, also showing well, Amy O’Connor, Katrina Mackey, Chloe Sigerson, and Izzy O’Regan and you have eight players for six positions. O’Regan will most likely be an impact sub who has done well since her introduction to the panel. 

It’s difficult to select between the other seven for a starting position. Management may stick with experience but how girls are performing at training should also be a deciding factor. 

With Saoirse McCarthy doing well at wing-back, Paudie Murray may well want to hold her there and free up Hannah Looney for midfield. 

She’s setting up numerous scores with her runs forward and the opposition are struggling to curtail her when in full flight.

It would be beneficial for Cork to get a strong fight from Waterford tomorrow as we head into August and the end of the championship season gets ever closer.

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