Cork minors can expect a tough battle against old rivals Kilkenny in final

Rebels face the Cats on Sunday evening
Cork minors can expect a tough battle against old rivals Kilkenny in final

The Cork minor camogie squad face Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final this weekend.

SUNDAY: All-Ireland Minor Camogie final: Cork v Kilkenny, LIT Gaelic Grounds, 6pm.

CORK and Kilkenny collide for the Tesco All-Ireland minor title at 6pm tomorrow and if both semi-finals are anything to go by we are in for a battle to the finish. 

Cork and Kilkenny have always been keen rivals at underage level and the work going on in both counties is huge.

Cork had to pull out all the stops as they overcame Dublin in the searing heat on Saturday last, playing for three quarters of the game with 14 players. The young Rebels really showed what they were made of as Dublin turned on the pressure. 

The spirit and will to win in Jerry Wallace's side shone through and they never played with their hearts on the sleeve as they closed the game out.

Kilkenny had to also battle to the finish before securing their spot in the final as they edged out Galway In a high-scoring battle where it finished 3-21 to 1-25 but not before going to extra-time as they overcame a Galway side that were favoured to advance. 

Kilkenny have enjoyed huge success at this level since the competitions changed to U18 grade in 2006 with six titles to their credit the last won in 2015. Cork on the other hand are bidding for three in a row with their first title secured in 2018 before they retained it in 2019. With last year’s minor championship not played due to Covid, the Rebel bid for three on the bounce is still on.

Cork were All-Ireland U16 champions in 2019 as they ousted Galway in a thrilling final and several of that side have made the step up to minor where the winning mentality is very evident with the confidence gained hugely beneficial to players such as Aimee Morgan, Orlaith Cahalane, Cliona Lynch, Ciara Hurley, Miriam Healy, Rose Murphy, Meadhbh Ring, Ciara Golden and captain Olivia McAllen, who also captained that U16 team.

Cork manager Jerry Wallace knows that a tough battle lies ahead for his charges but he has instilled confidence in his side that they are winners and with his trusted backroom of Mick Boland, Sonya Walsh and Mark O’ Sullivan they have worked hard to get their charges this far. 

In the searing heat last Saturday Cork kept going and their fitness and will to win got them over the line. All through this campaign they have been impressive, their work-rate was huge against Dublin losing a player so early in the game made the task an even harder one but they knuckled down and took the game to Dublin despite falling behind by three points in the opening quarter. 

As a unit their defence is superb and the way they work with and for each other was a major factor in them getting over the line last weekend, time and again they broke up Dublin attacks and drove forward with determination and if they can find that second gear again on Sunday it will be a major factor in deciding where the title goes.

Kilkenny have built up a strong minor side and manager Mike Wall and his fellow selector Paula Murphy, Damien Donoghue, Laoise Bennett, Sinead Melaniff and Clodagh Houlihane have a panel of 39 players who confidently came through the group stages with victories over Waterford and Wexford to top their section. They still had to contest a quarter-final, where they overcame Limerick 1-27 to 1-8 before facing Galway. 

In a battle that went right down to the wire with hot favourite Galway Kilkenny showed plenty of spirit to close the game out, Amy Clifford has been a stand-out player for them through this campaign and she has plenty of support from Sarah Barcoe, Katie Byrne, Niamh Phelan Laoise Nolan and Emma Manogue have been to the fore as Kilkenny reached their first minors decider in six years.

A tough battle lies ahead but this Cork side are no strangers to tight battles.

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