Linda Mellerick: Paudie Murray comments on Cork camogie didn't hit the right note

'We haven’t won an All-Ireland since 2018. Pity about the short-term memory loss'
Linda Mellerick: Paudie Murray comments on Cork camogie didn't hit the right note

Former Cork manager Paudie Murray. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

I SAID a couple of weeks ago that, regardless of what happened in Croke Park last Sunday, it was a great year for Cork camogie.

That remains the case. We lost both finals by a combined total of three points. It was tough to take.

Paudie Murray’s comments on The Sunday Game disappointed the Cork camp.

What I find mind-boggling about his remarks is that this season Cork played a similar style to what they had been playing for the previous three years.

Hold your six backs, two or three inside the opposing 45, everyone else pulls out. Middle third packed.

What has changed, thankfully, is that the team has stopped the slow lateral hand-passing out of defence which was repeatedly turned over during 2019-2021.

Galway’s diagonal ball into open space in last year’s final caused us problems. Yet that was also highlighted as a factor in his criticism of Sunday.

We haven’t won an All-Ireland since 2018. Pity about the short-term memory loss.

Cork dropped four balls short into Aoife Norris’ hands during the first half as they tried to get into gear, giving away possession and putting Kilkenny back on the attack.

Miriam Walsh had 4-13 coming into the final. Her opening couple of points were very impressive. She played well but equally Libby Coppinger did a good job. It was a great battle.

What a goal by Fiona Keating, picking the ball well outside and to the right of the D, a great run and short grip to finish. She had also drawn the defence and had Katrina Mackey to her left.

Four points without reply and Cork were level.

It wasn’t to be, but Keating can be proud of her 1-2 return on the day. Mackey had a fine season. What a point from the sideline.

Cork's Katrina Mackey turns inside Clare's Ciara Grogan during the Munster senior camogie championship final at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Cork's Katrina Mackey turns inside Clare's Ciara Grogan during the Munster senior camogie championship final at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

I also thought Sorcha McCartan worked extremely hard. Considering she missed most of the season through injury and her fitness can’t be at peak, so she did well.

Katie Nolan caused Cork too much trouble. It was no surprise to see Kilkenny’s Sophie Dwyer come in on 47 minutes. I thought Emma Murphy could have been brought in sooner than the 50th minute for Cork.

Short puck-outs and running into trouble led to Cork’s intermediate side losing possession; often passing with no advantage to their team-mate and delaying ball into Lauren Homan, who was on her game, all contributed to their defeat.

Distribution inside was also off. When Cork pushed up and took on Galway they looked threatening. Unfortunately, they didn’t push up enough.

Cork had a goal chance on 12 minutes, but the pass wasn’t made with a player free inside. Galway made better use of their sweeper than Cork. They were reduced to 14 with nine minutes remaining.

That was the time for Cork to really take them on up front. It was a new experience for Cork’s management and many of their players, and only for a number of wides the day could still have been theirs.

What now for Cork?

With Pamela Mackey, Linda Collins, and Orla Cronin missing from last year’s senior side, they were still just minutes away from their first title in four years.

The Cork intermediate side lost by two points. We won the All-Ireland U16 and minor titles.

SHAKE UP

I would like to see a number of those U18s brought into the intermediate and senior panels now. Let’s not just bring on those who stood out. Give more of them that chance. Young players can be late developers.

Cork has 30-plus members on the senior panel. Some of them there for a number of seasons now. I do think it’s time for a shake-up.

Bring in more of those 19- to 21-year-olds, minors of the past three years. The same goes for the intermediate side. Let’s push up.

Galway’s intermediate side was very young. They had eight starting players from their last three minor teams. We didn’t have that and Cork that won those last three minor titles.

None of the intermediate squad were senior panellists yet three of Galway’s senior subs started for their intermediate side, their keeper, full-back, and full-forward. Another point worthy of note.

Cork’s Saoirse McCarthy with coach Davy Fitzgerald after the game last Sunday. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
Cork’s Saoirse McCarthy with coach Davy Fitzgerald after the game last Sunday. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

Davy Fitzgerald has left the Cork set-up but no one in the camp was surprised there. It was always for one season.

It’s time to take a breather for a few weeks, take in the club championship and then re-focus for 2023.

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