THE Tesco All-Ireland Minor Championship continues this weekend when Cork host Dublin in Castle Road on Sunday.
It’s the second game in the group series for Cork; for Dublin it’s their opening game with a home game against Galway to come on February 19.
A win for Cork will see them top the group and secure at the very least a quarter-final spot with the possibility of a place in the semis. The group winners will go into a draw with two going straight to semi-finals and the other to the quarter-final to join the three second-placed teams.
With just three teams in the group and two to qualify it is tight and every result is vital.
Last weekend Cork travelled to Galway and came away with a hard-earned but deserved victory in tough conditions.
With very heavy and persistent rain in Galway on Friday and Saturday the pitch conditions were far from ideal; it cut up quickly once the game got underway which in turn led to a lot of rucks and stoppages in play.
In a low-scoring contest, Cork showed huge character to carve out a two-point victory having played with the strong wind in the opening half and they led by just two points at the break.
Twice Galway levelled matters before a late rally saw Cork hit two points to win 0-8 to 0-6.
Manager Jerry Wallace was delighted with the win, but he knows Dublin will present another huge challenge this weekend. Last year the sides met at the All-Ireland semi-final stage where Cork just about hung on for a two-point win and the Dubs will be determined to reverse that result.
In last week’s game, four of Cork’s eight scores came from frees and Fiona Twohig showed just how important it is to have a good free-taker; one that can hold the nerve when the pressure comes on.
Last Sunday, with the sides level on 0-6 apiece, she nailed a free to edge Cork one clear with time almost up and with Leah Hallihan adding one from play, Cork held out for a hard-fought victory.
Wallace will, however, be looking for more from his attack this weekend with just three players on the scoresheet from play and this is an area where he will be hoping to see a huge improvement.
Little is known about Dublin, two years ago we didn’t have an U16 All-Ireland championship to give us a guide as to their strength.
Having endeavoured several times this week to speak to their management we failed to get a response. However we do know that John O’Connell from the Lucan Sarsfields club is at the helm again this season and he will be looking to build on reaching the last four in 2021.
Dublin camogie has made huge strides in recent years with huge emphasis having been put on underage development and they are beginning to see the results.