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Cork comfortable winners against Meath

Cork comfortable winners against Meath


Cork were expecting their stiffest examination in this years Suzuki
League when they travelled to Mountmellick in Laois, to take on
old rivals Meath in the 3rd round. At the end of an entertaining
encounter Cork had cantered to their 29th victory on the trot
and they never really looked in danger once they turned over with
a 1-3 to 0-4 lead with the strong wind to come. Missing Catriona
Foley, Mary O’Connor, Rena Buckley and Regina Curtin on holiday
with the camogie team, Briege Corkery could not find her passport
and did not travel to Lanzerote, Briege stayed to play an outstanding
role in Cork’s facile win. Mairead Kelly was on duty for Ireland
in Thomond Park against England in rugby while Amanda Murphy and
some of the new recruits were exam tied.

Against that scenario Cork’s magnificent run of 28 games winning
streak was under severe threat, but once again they rose to the
occasion. The addition of new blood was both needed and necessary
and the league campaign in the right platform to try people out,
Indeed it was one this years newcomers, who made the early running
for Cork with the opening point within the first minute. Amy O’Shea
has been in and out of the Cork panel for about 6 years and when
she looked set for a long stint, she suffered a cruciate knee
ligament injury in the last minute of a league game with Rockban
against St Vals. Ironically she was to play for Cork the following
day, in a vital league game. She made a full recovery and was
back in the Cork panel again when she agonisingly suffered a similar
cruciate ligament injury on the other knee. Back she came again
from that but unable to hold down a regular place on the team
she opted out of the panel and missed out on Cork’s first All-ireland
success. On Sunday she took her chance with a vengeance and tormented
the Meath defence all afternoon as well as notching 3 points she
hit the crossbar and was a fraction off with 2 more goal bound
efforts, being fouled as well which resulted in a penalty. Another
young lady who was handed her first start did not get on the score
sheet, but turned provider for the colleagues.

Laura McMahon is a fine footballer and she showed deft touches
similar to her brother Kevin with the Cork Seniors. Sundays start
will have given her tremendous confidence and she gets into the
pattern of play, with more games, she will be a player who will
terrorise defences. Linda Barrett still only 17 was another of
the young guns to be given a starting shirt, lining out in the
corner of the defence and she was impressive all through. She
showed good anticipation speed and skill and made very good use
of her clearances. As for the rest, it was more of the same with
a little bit more. Elaine Harte was coolness personified and could
not be faulted with the penalty rather harshly awarded that beat
her near the end of the game. The rest of the defence worked well
as a unit and when someone slipped up, there was always someone
to cover for them. Angela Walsh coming back after a back injury
was quiet by her standards, but was efficient in all she did.

The half back line of Geraldine O’Flynn, Brid Stack and Sinead
O’Reilly are developing into a unit which is becoming more invincible
with each game. Back tougher again after a weeks separation the
dynamic duo of Juliet Murphy and Norita Kelly were at their menacing
best, they were masters of all they surveyed with a calculating
methodology and terrific work ethic. The forwards moved freely,
at times they looked like word beaters, they did the difficult
things well and racked up some fine scores, but on other occasions
the simple route one, may have paid more dividends when it came
to scoring. The high number of wides is still a worry, but on
the other hand a reflection on the dominance of the entire team,
with both midfielders and backs Geraldine O’Flynn getting on the
score sheet. The fact that 8 players scored reflects this mindful
fact, as well that last years top scorer Nollaig Cleary, contributed
her share but did not raise a flag, for the first time in many
games, but that’s all right too. Valerie Mulcahy has returned
to her best form and tormented the Meath defence scoring 2-2 her
2nd goal coming from the penalty spot, Caoimhe Creedon continues
to baffle and bamboozle defences with her dept side-steps and
on Sunday contributed 1-1 . Deirdre O’Reilly again worked tirelessly,
but did not find her scoring touch until near the end, when she
scored 2 long range points.

Against the breeze Meath never really threatened in the half,
for whatever reason they never got off the ground on the day maybe
they had to much respect for Cork, as they sportingly formed a
guard of honour for them, on to the field. Like Cork they were
missing a few and like so many counties their strength in dept
has to be a bit suspect. Cork are still awaiting a meaningful
challenge in this campaign perhaps Galway will provide it, but
one thing is certain with the current competition for places there
will be no sense of complacency in any sector of the team. The
other introductions on Sunday were not on long enough to earn
an objective rating. With the talent coming through Cork will
be the first gaelic team capable of operating a rotation system
and the way the championship is based, on league format that could
be a vital factor later in the Summer.


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