THE saying goes ‘a week is a long time in sport.’
From Cork’s perspective, the week was as normal as seven days allow.
For others, considering how far down the table they’ve shot, in Group 1 primarily, in the All-Ireland senior championship, the week must seem like six months.
It’s hard to believe that one weekend of games could change the positioning of counties as dramatically as the past week has.
Cork still top the group after round 3 but Clare losing to Wexford and Waterford taking the points against Tipperary has thrown the Group 1 table into chaos, depending on where you are viewing it from.
Last week I mentioned that Dublin and Clare would end up battling for second and third spots. Clare had lost one game as had Waterford, but Clare had Cork behind them and realistically the rest of the table is up for grabs.
It was somewhat of a shock on paper that Clare lost to the Slaneysiders but considering their six games in the same number of weeks, is it really a surprise? They must now surely beat both Dublin and Waterford to have any hope of making the last six.
And now Wexford who looked dead and buried a week ago are back in the mix after recording their first win, sitting in fourth spot. Tipp have stuttered in the campaign without All-Star Karen Kennedy due to injury and former captain Orla O’Dwyer, due to her AFL commitments.
Róisín Howard’s suspension was a further blow and they never really got going at FBD Semple Stadium against a Waterford team that has been rebuilding this year and had standout performers in Clara Griffin, Lorraine Bray, and Beth Carton.
Waterford move into second place in Group 1, just ahead of Dublin on points, but with a significant positive scoring average, and behind Cork. It’s always an exciting affair further down the groups.
It’s nearly as predictable as the disappointing summer weather in that Cork will top their group and Galway and Kilkenny will finish first and second in theirs.
There is often little excitement in their encounters but the battle for second and third-placed is always hugely exciting, notwithstanding not always at the standard of the top three counties.
Not as true to form this year however it must be said with Dublin more than giving Cork a game of it last weekend. Cork unsurprisingly retained their perfect record, but it wasn’t all plain sailing.
They had to score the last goal and eight points to record a 2-10 to 0-9 win over Dublin at the St Peregrine’s club grounds.
I didn’t make the game, but I’ve been told that the pitch was as tight as you can possibly get away with and undoubtedly that suited Dublin in tracking Cork’s runners.
The 5pm start prevented me from making the trip to Dublin due to an event I had to attend. This start time set aside for every senior and intermediate game is frustrating. There’s no reason for it and most county teams and management would prefer earlier times.
With travel time, it’s a full day and late night away for trips such as this and it most certainly is a deterrent to travelling supporters.
Round-robin camogie championship games aren’t regarded as such and so games aren’t carried live in many cases or provide full updates.
Being unable to travel to the senior game I took a trip to Páirc Uí Rinn to watch the intermediate team in action against Kilkenny. A low-scoring first half opened up with Cork coming out comfortable winners.
However, they’ve a lot of work to do if they have hopes of winning the All-Ireland title.
Their distribution needs to improve, deliveries took too long to get to their intended target, soft striking and lobbing the ball delayed the pass too many times lending to passes dropping short or being intercepted.
A home game against Meath today is another opportunity to improve matters as the seniors enjoy a weekend off.