Camogie previews: Cork face Galway in minor All-Ireland final and Division 2 league clash

Rebels are in action in two huge games this Saturday
Camogie previews: Cork face Galway in minor All-Ireland final and Division 2 league clash

Cork's Ellen Crowley is tackled by Waterford's Kelsie Obanya during the Tesco All-Ireland minor clash. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

TODAY: Tesco All-Ireland Minor final: Cork v Galway, Semple Stadium, 5pm.

IN what is a repeat of their opening game in group two, Cork and Galway will battle it out this evening for the Tesco All Ireland minor championship title.

Cork are back in the final having lost out to Kilkenny in last year’s decider and they will be hoping that this time out they will get it right. Cork took the title in 2018 and retained it in 2019 but there was disappointment in 2020 when, despite the championship being at its concluding stages, the Camogie Association decided not to finish it when Covid restrictions eased.

Galway last contested the minor final in 2017 when they were crowned champions and they come into this final having knocked out holders Kilkenny in a semi-final, despite going down to 14 players for the last 10 minutes. They were hit with two early goals but settled and ran out 0-14 to 2-3 winners.

Cork once again had to dig deep to get over the line as they edged out Tipperary in a low-scoring semi: 1-7 to 0-9. Level on five occasions it took a superb last-second point from defender Aoife Healy to secure victory.

A week previously Cork were again pinned to their collars as they struggled to shake off a determined Waterford in a quarter-final clash where again they had just a point to spare. They have shown huge determination and spirit all through this campaign but Jerry Wallace will be looking for a better return from his forward division.

No doubt they will again need to bring huge determination to the fore in a final where they will meet a Galway side determined to reverse the result of their previous meeting.

With no U16 championship in 2020, there was no clear favourite before a sliotar was pucked.

Last season at minor level Galway lost out to eventual winners Kilkenny in a nail-biting semi-final with two points the margin in the end.

Manager Aaron Fox and his selectors have put in a big effort this year to reach the decider. They will provide strong opposition and as we saw in the last game between the sides, there is little between them, in a dour 0-8 to 0-6 contest. Cork just about got over the line but the appalling weather conditions were an issue on a pitch that cut up quickly.

Hopefully, now pitches have dried up and with the final, in the magnificent setting of Semple Stadium, we will see a free-flowing contest between two sides that have learned a lot from their last encounter.

We can expect it to once again go right down to the wire as they battle to be crowned champions.

TODAY: Littlewoods Division 2 quarter-final: Cork v Galway, Moneygall, 2pm.

We’re at the knockout stages of the Littlewoods Division 2 National League.

 Rachel O'Shea with possession in wet and windy conditions against Derry. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Rachel O'Shea with possession in wet and windy conditions against Derry. Picture: Larry Cummins.

A youthful Galway emerged from Group 2 as runners-up to 2021 All-Ireland Intermediate champions Antrim, a team they pushed to the limits in their opening league game. Galway introduced six players from their 2021 minor panel while Caoimhe Reidy made her debut with Laura Loughnane returning to the panel.

They overcame Kerry in their second game but with Laois failing to field, Galway just had two league games in their section.

Laura Loughnane, Sinead Coleman, Katie Gilchrist, Jennifer Hughes, Chloe Farragher, Tegan Canning and the hugely experienced Tara Rutledge backbone their side and they will relish an opportunity to take on a Cork panel that made excellent progress against Kildare, Derry and Meath.

The only game Cork lost out in was to a very strong Wexford in their opening game. They are an honest team with huge work-rate and their determination in forcing frees and errors from the opposition has seen them come out on top in situations that looked lost.

Joanne Casey and Rachel O’Shea are enjoying excellent campaigns, Lauren Callanan has made a return to the side after picking up a pre-season injury while captain Finola Neville, Sarah Ahern, Niamh O’Leary and Clodagh Finn are all featuring well as Cork continue the hunt for a place in the final.

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