D-Day for Cork and Kerry in Munster

Deliverance Day Munster Ladies Semi Final Kerry v Cork


Deliverance Day Munster Ladies Semi Final Kerry v Cork
( Saturday June 2nd in Beaufort @ 2 p.m)

Kerry senior Ladies face their biggest examination to
date this year with the visit of Munster and All Ireland
champions Cork to Beaufort on Saturday. The match between
the two auld enemies has a 2 p.m throw-in and promises
to be an intriguing affair as both camps enter the semi-final
stage with question marks over their standing in the game.
Kerry’s troubles have been well documented over the last
six weeks as they surrendered meekly in Tuam against Galway
in the National league semi-final. The fortnight in the
run up to game against Waterford in their opening Provincial
encounter saw several casualities to Robbie Griffin’s
starting side as he lost four key players, the most notable
being the continued absense of capatin Sarah O’Connor.

Still Kerry were expected to account for Waterford and
looked well placed to book a final berth at half time
in Blennerville. Inexplicably, the Ladies once again left
their game plan in the dressing room and a combination
of complacency and inept attacking cost them dearly. Leaking
three second half goals to the Deices meant Kerry came
up short by two points at the game’s end. So then they
now are primed to try their hand at the backdoor route
with regards to reaching the Provincial decider. What
then of their opponents Cork?

Cork were bombed out of the National league the day before
Kerry as the eventual league winners Mayo blasted four
goals past the rebelettes to strip them of their league
crown. In doing so it also brought an end to Cork’s 32
winning game streak that spanned 2 national league campaigns
and 2 successful All Ireland campaigns. Cork manager Mary
Collins admitted that result came as a shock : ” Yeah,
it was a fierce blow to lose to Mayo but I suppose it
had to happen at some stage. We took a bit of time off
after that game and in fairness the players have regrouped
well since then. We are still anxious to hang onto our
Munster crown and the overall aim is still to retain the
All Ireland which I believe we are good enough to do if
our players play to form.”

It’s unlikely then that Cork will be caught on the hop
a second time running and will treat Kerry’s challenge
with the greatest of respect. The Rockchapel mentor was
impressed with Kerry’s run throughout the league ” I think
everybody sat up and took notice of their form early on
and Kacey O’Driscoll’s return has certainly strengthened
Kerry’s side. I know full well that Robbie Griffin will
have them well tutored. We might have had the upper hand
in the past few years but it wasn’t till 2004 that we
beat them at senior level and I can remember several hammerings
from Kerry down through the years”. Kerry handing Cork
a thumping on Saturday is one thing that won’t happen
as Robbie Griffin and William O Sullivan resources have
been stretched to the extreme with the loss of up to five
players. Kerry simply don’t have the quality that Cork
have through their ranks at the moment. The All Ireland
holders have four current all stars- Angela Walsh, Rena
Buckley, Nollaig Cleary and Mary O Connor while Juliet
Murphy and newcomer Laura McMahon (sister to Cork footballer
Kevin) gives an indication of their strength in depth.
Their all conquering side has been built from a successful
underage structure and minor stars like Amanda Murphy
(the Beara lady is one of four Cork players to miss out
on the game as she commences her Leaving Cert exams) have
a clutch of All Ireland medals from several grades. Indeed
Cork are also the leading pioneers off the field as the
side along with Team management head for Costa del Sol
on Sunday for a week’s warm weather training. Those travelling
raised the funds for the trip through fundraising ventures
and while such holidays might be common place in the men’s
game such an undertaking in the Ladies game is unheard
of as the money coursing through the two codes ( Men’s
and Women’s) is light years apart. This is Cork’s second
team holiday in 14 months and shows their professional
attitude ahead of the All Ireland series.

The game in Cork is obviously in rude health and our
neighbours must be commended for attracting a six figure
sponsorship deal from construction giant Castlelands.
The visitors will be chomping at the bit to return to
the winning ways and if they play to their capabilities
the home side will struggle to stay with them. This game
will set the tone for the remainder of the season for
Kerry ( both sides will go through to the All Ireland
series with the losers to be third seed in the round robin
group stages) and the players must come out and lay it
on the line for the team management. Undoubtedly they
have lost some of their early season sparkle through a
combination of factors but this is ” back to the wall”
time and surely the sight of a Red and White jersey will
stir the blood of every panel member. The side know they
haven’t delivered in their past two outings and a heavy
defeat this weekend would undermine all their good work
during the winter and spring months. No doubt the team
management will be trying to foster a siege mentality
in the run up to the game and hopefully Kerry will have
a right crack off the defending Munster champions. A fighting
performance is the minimum required and Kerry have the
ability to make it tough for the holders who will be edgy
before throw in.

The result this time round is not of the utmost importance
but certainly the Kerry players need to remind themselves
and their supporters that they are capable of playing
football for sixty minutes. When they do so and let’s
hope that happens on Saturday this side can mix it with
the best of them. Beaufort at 4 p.m on Saturday will have
an interesting tale to tell………


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