Cork v Waterford: Ladies footballers aim to top group

Portlaoise will host the clash which is live on TG4 at 5pm today
Cork v Waterford: Ladies footballers aim to top group

Cork's Orla Finn tackles Niamh Boyle of Donegal, with Sarah Leahy closing in to help during their TG4 All-Ireland championship clash last weekend. The Cork forwards pinned Donegal in, one of the key parts of their victory. Picture:  Moya Nolan

A WIN today will see Cork through to the quarter-finals of the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship.

They travel to Portlaoise to take on Waterford in their final group game, with plenty at stake for both sides. A win for the Deise could also see them qualify so they won’t be travelling to make it easy for Cork.

Some would argue that having both counties travelling to Portlaoise is crazy but it is part of a double header that is being shown live on TG4, the other game being Dublin v Mayo.

The Rebels game throws in at 5pm, followed by the other tie. If Cork win they will have a big interest in that encounter as they will be playing the losers in the quarter-finals on July 9.

This will be the third meeting this season between Cork and Waterford, with the Rebels winning the other two. The first was a crucial win in the league which secured Cork’s place in the top flight for next season and the second was in the semi-final of the Munster championship.

But neither game was an easy win for Cork and tomorrow should be no different.

They have talented players all over the pitch, including the likes of Karen McGrath, Laura Mulcahy, Mairead Wall, Kate McGrath, and Kellyann Hogan.

Cork came through a tough encounter against Donegal last Sunday, which will stand to them.

 Laura O'Mahony in action against Donegal's Amy Boyle, will be one of the players the Rebels will look to against Waterford.  Picture: Moya Nolan
Laura O'Mahony in action against Donegal's Amy Boyle, will be one of the players the Rebels will look to against Waterford.  Picture: Moya Nolan

At half-time they were will in control, but credit to their opponents they came back at them before the Rebels scored a few late scores to win by five points.

Manager Shane Ronayne won’t have been happy with parts of their second-half display but would be delighted with their first-half showing.

They would also be delighted with the form of the likes of Doireann O’Sullivan, Sarah Leahy, Aine O’Sullivan, Laura O'Mahony, and Ciara O’Sullivan.

Doireann was hit by injuries over the last few years but this season she is back to her best and no doubt all will be hoping she stays injury-free for the rest of the season.

Sarah was due to line out at corner-back but was moved to midfield and had an outstanding game and is now very much another option there for Ronayne.

Speaking ahead of their second game Ciara O’Sullivan said they were delighted to get over Donegal but they still had plenty to work on ahead of their clash with the Déise.

“Donegal are never an easy side to beat so we were delighted to come out on top by five points. 

As a forward line, we were happy at how we pinned them in and we will need to try do the same tomorrow if we are to get the better of Waterford.

“Six days is a short turnaround time for a championship battle but it’s where you want to be so the week was about working on a few things in training and watching the injuries and being ready to go again tomorrow."

Cork will be expected to win and continue their winning run over Waterford this year.

Despite a number of players opting out this year the Cork panel is very strong and also back in contention is Hannah Looney who has returned from working in America.

She was in outstanding form at midfield before she left for the States and will be a huge asset to the squad for the remainder of the season.

Last year she was probably the top midfielder in the country and her physical presence will be needed going forward to the knock-out stages.

Tomorrow will be another test for this Cork outfit but they have more than enough to come through.

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