All-Ireland camogie preview: Classy Cork can dethrone Kilkenny

Rebels have shown the form to get a result at Croke Park on Sunday
All-Ireland camogie preview: Classy Cork can dethrone Kilkenny

Cork's Ashling Thompson and Kilkenny's Michelle Teehan collide in the 2020 All-Ireland semi-final. Picture:INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

THE decibel level may not be as loud in Croke Park tomorrow, but there will be a lively atmosphere in the all-ticket games between Galway and Tipperary, at 2pm, and between Cork and Kilkenny, at 4pm, in the All-Ireland camogie semi-final double header.

The pairings are the same as in Páirc Uí Chaoimh last November. Six points was the gap between Galway and Tipp and just two separated Cork and Kilkenny.

Cork enjoyed a six-point lead after eight minutes but trailed by one at the break, and despite holding Kilkenny scoreless for 21 minutes in the second half and dominating possession, couldn’t score to see the game through.

Cork manager Paudie Murray. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Cork manager Paudie Murray. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Gemma O’Connor and Anne Dalton are the two key players retired from either side and that balances things out, so this game will go down to the wire again.

Anne Dalton appeared on the bench for Kilkenny’s quarter-final last Saturday, out of the blue, as a sub goalkeeper, because of an injury to Emma Kavanagh.

Kilkenny won comprehensively, beating Wexford 3-19 to 1-12, which was very good scoring. There is a big gap, as I’ve repeated regularly, between the top four and the others and all the plaudits of ‘the others’ is sounding very fake at this stage.

We all want to build up the profile of our game, but it’s embarrassing the number of inflated compliments that are directed at the weaker counties. This is going on too long. They need to step up.

Kilkenny know that the real battle is tomorrow. Their backs were tight last week, their full-back line and Meighan Farrell looking very strong.

If Cork get a six-point lead this time around, Kilkenny may not recover and so a fast start is crucial for them.

Just who will mark Denise Gaule in the middle of the park? She’ll possibly be named at right-half forward, but play deep.

Her work-rate, vision, and distribution are on song this year. She’ll help out her defence one minute and hit over a point the next. She’ll need a permanent marker, and I think Pam Mackey could be the one to follow Gaule wherever she goes.

With Kilkenny’s strong forward division, Cork’s management may not want to pull Mackey out, but stopping the supply, first and foremost, is king.

Cork will need to be at their best to dethrone the All-Ireland champions, but it is in them to do so. Kilkenny don’t believe they have peaked yet.

Cork didn’t have too much intensity in their three group games, winning all comfortably. It’s their intensity on the training ground that will see them through to the final, their first in three years.

DISAPPOINTMENT

It’s all about peaking at the right time, isn’t it? Limerick peaked last Sunday in the men’s senior hurling final. But that’s not to say that Cork’s timing wasn’t right as well.

My heart went out to the Cork players and management. Most teams will have experienced a game where everything went right for the opposition, and nothing went right for them.

And when that happens, it’s so deflating.

For it to happen on All-Ireland final day, well, it doesn’t get much worse than that. Limerick were resoundingly better, no disputing that, but even when Cork did look in control of situations, a miss-hit pass, a ball fumble, or a slip, and possession was lost.

Nothing, just nothing, went right, and the last 25 minutes must have seemed like an hour as things got increasingly worse. It was a lonely place at the final whistle and the heavy/empty feeling that inevitably followed for days afterwards is unenviable.

A dejected Eoin Cadogan last Sunday. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
A dejected Eoin Cadogan last Sunday. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

They deserve our thanks for an exciting season and a pat of encouragement for 2022 and beyond again.

For our senior girls tomorrow, we hope it’s a day when everything goes right for them and if it does, then we have every chance of being in another senior final in 2021.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130

Echo WISA

Read all about the monthly winner’s and more.
Click Here

EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

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