Cork v Clare: Linda Millerick previews the Cork Munster camogie final

Páirc Uí Rinn hosts the provincial decider, which is a precursor to the All-Ireland series
Cork v Clare: Linda Millerick previews the Cork Munster camogie final

Orla Cronin returns to the bench for the Munster final at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE provincial championships are always a low-key affair in camogie due to their irrelevance to the All-Ireland series.

In effect, they are used as further preparation for the All-Ireland championship. It’s more meaningful for some counties than others of course.

For Clare, travelling to Páirc Uí Rinn today for the Munster final, it’s a big one.

It’s not a casual affair for Cork either. Eight points separated the sides back in February in the league and Clare were without key players due to their club championship involvement.

Both sides hadn’t too much hurling behind them at that point and unquestionably we should see a faster, more fluent game in better conditions.

Since their February clash, Cork went on to reach the league final and lost a cracker to Galway after leading by six early in the second half. There wasn’t too much disappointment in the Cork camp after that. In fact, there were many positives to take, with five making their Croke Park debut, and a really strong opening half.

Orla Cronin, Hannah Looney, and Sorcha McCartan were also to come back into that side.

Cork have trained extremely hard. No surprise there given the Davy Fitzgerald factor.

They’re just back from a training weekend and while the bodies might be suffering, their spirits are high. I’ve noticed a buzz in the players' performances this year.

A change is always refreshing, and they’re being given freedom to play with sensible abandonment.

Will Cork win the All-Ireland title? Maybe, maybe not. But what’s for sure is that Matthew Twomey and Davy will get the maximum out of the panel they have.

And that’s all you can ask from any management. Players are happy once they know that the collective wasn’t found wanting in preparation.


Davy’s passion rubs off on players, he’s proven that with every county he’s been involved with. It’s a must in any team. Watching the senior hurlers against Clare, I was stunned by their demeanour, for large parts of the game.

I can’t recall a game where I visibly saw such lethargy. There was no light in their eyes. Davy brings a flame.

Games are so condensed now around the middle of the pitch as both half-forward lines play deep and drag out their markers.

A sweeper is held back, and defences often have numerical advantage where they start their line play.

Cork play this scenario, leaving the minimum of players inside. Laura Treacy plays the sweeping role brilliantly and offloads intelligently.

The flank speed of Laura Hayes and Saoirse McCarthy then causes havoc and there is plenty space on the wings.

We have seen Hayes, McCarthy and Ashling Thompson score some really good points. It’s not just the forwards' job to score anymore.

Teams are also going to find it very hard to control Hannah Looney who is coming back into the squad this month after her work spell in New York comes to an end. In regular contact with Matthew and mirroring Cork’s sessions as best she can in the Big Apple, she is chomping at the bit.

We do need a greater scoring threat up front and find ways to create more goal-scoring opportunities. We need additional physical strength.

Pushing Hannah up there might be considered.

Facing the ball is easier and you accelerate faster. Receiving it up front is more difficult, with a turn involved, but playing as a roaming half-forward might do the trick.

Cork's Sorcha McCartan with Julianne Malone of Kilkenny. Picture: INPHO/Jim Coughlan
Cork's Sorcha McCartan with Julianne Malone of Kilkenny. Picture: INPHO/Jim Coughlan

It’s been unfortunate that Sorcha McCartan has been out since March with an ankle injury. She’s missed eight weeks and her sharpness will take a lot of work but she’s a threat at full-forward if she gets the right ball.

Good news for Matthew Twomey is that Sorcha has been given the all-clear and expect her and Orla Cronin to make some appearance tonight.

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