AFTER a week where Cork made the headlines by declaring their All-Star players will not be making the May trip to Canada, it was back to the pitch for their second-round national league tie with Clare last Saturday.
The All-Star tour had dominated the headlines. Credit to the Cork girls for making a brave statement of their intent not to travel.
It was a big statement from the travelling players and Cork manager Matthew Twomey agreed. "It’s huge, it’s sad they had to do that. It says an awful lot to the rest of the players. I know they’re thrilled. The whole thing is still up in the air I suppose but as far as we’re concerned we’ve a full pick of players from here to the championship."
There has been no contact from the Camogie Association since the news broke so to date there has been no change in stance. He doesn’t think there will be a change.
"No, it won’t change I think, they’re committed to it.
"All we’re interested in is the Cork players. They say they’re not going which is great for us.
Cork haven’t been really tested to date with comfortable wins over Dublin and Clare showing the gap remains between the top four or five teams and other senior counties.
Cork’s work-rate is key to their game plan this season. It’s as it should be for every season. Twomey feels it’s a given factor when they play.
"Our work-rate was top class again today, that’s what you’d expect every game but when that comes you get the results."
Cork play Tipperary tomorrow in what is a big game for both sides in The Ragg. Cork lost their final championship group game to Tipperary last July, 1-17 to 1-16, but they had already qualified for the semi-final.
With the top two from six qualifying for the league final, Cork and Tipp sit on six points, the scoring difference being in Cork's favour as they sit top of the table and a win here would put them in a good position.
He acknowledges the challenge they face.
"It’s going to be a tough game up there. They’ve won two games as well and they’re full of confidence so look it’s probably the test we want at this stage. We’re after two comfortable games.
"Is that down to us or down to the opposition? We don’t know so we want to find that out this week and in a fortnight's time when we’ll be playing Kilkenny."
Cork are happy with the way their preparations are going. After Tipp they make the trip to Kilkenny on March 18 and have a final home game to Galway in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on March 26.
Twomey acknowledges the collaboration they have with the Cork GAA board.
"I have to say that the Cork GAA County Board have been unbelievable to us. Always have been, but this year especially.
"They’ve given us their gym facilities anytime we wanted it and they worked things around to get us in there. Kevin O’Donovan and Aidan O’Connell have been into me a couple of times personally saying ‘whatever ye want, give us a shout’.
"They have been brilliant and we owe them, even to be here in Páirc Uí Rinn has been great with a nice bit of a crowd and to get us into the double-header in Páirc Uí Chaoimh for our last league game against Galway.
"It’s a credit to Cork GAA and it’s great for us. We’re also going to Nowlan Park before the Waterford-Kilkenny hurling game. That’s where you want to be. The girls are elite and they deserve it."
At this point, you’d have to say that the final two spots will be between Cork, Tipp and Galway so Cork’s biggest games are yet to come.
Katrina and Pam Mackey remain sidelined with injury; Orla Cronin had a small medical procedure which will also keep her out this week.