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Cork boss Shane Ronayne wants Rebels to be ruthless

February 17th, 2024 1:30 PM

By Kieran McCarthy

Cork boss Shane Ronayne wants Rebels to be ruthless Image
Cork ladies senior football manager Shane Ronayne. (Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile)

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SHANE Ronayne wants his Cork team to bring their shooting boots to Sunday’s must-win Lidl Ladies NDL Division 1 home clash against Waterford.

The Rebels are reeling after two successive losses have left them looking over their shoulder towards the relegation scrap – with one win in three games, Cork need wins to alleviate some of the building pressure.

The upcoming home games against fellow strugglers Waterford (Páirc Uí Rinn, 2pm) and Mayo (Mallow, March 2nd) will be crucial, as the Rebels finish their campaign with daunting trips to All-Ireland champions Dublin and a Meath team currently boasting a 100 percent record.

‘We’ll be in trouble if we don't get two wins in our next two games because we have two tough away games against Dublin and Meath. You don’t want to be travelling there in desperate need of points. If we can get a win against Waterford, it gives us a great chance of staying up,’ Cork manager Ronayne pointed out.

Katie Quirke has scored 76 percent of Cork's total in the league this season.


The Rebels boss is also keen for his side to develop a ruthless edge in front of goal as Cork have scored only 2-19 in their three league games, an average of just 0-8 per match – 1-6 v Galway, 1-6 v Armagh and 0-7 v Kerry. Cork have been overly dependent, too, on Katie Quirke for scores; the Bride Rovers forward has accounted for 1-16 (9f) of Cork’s scores, that’s 76 percent of their total. Daire Kiely (1-1, 1f), Sadhbh O’Leary (0-1) and Laura O’Mahony (0-1) are the only other Cork players to score in this league campaign. Ronayne acknowledged a lot more is needed to turn results around.

‘It’s a six-pointer,’ he said of Sunday’s clash with a Waterford team that has lost all three of their league games.

‘We had a good start against Galway but we’re after two disappointing performances and a lot of it is boiling down to our scoring rate which is very low – we are too dependent on Katie Quirke.

‘Our forwards are more than capable of scoring, we just need to improve our forward play. I think there is a frustration there at the moment with our attacking play and that is something that we have to work on.’

This new-look Cork attack is trying to find its feet. Doireann O’Sullivan is not involved this season, Ciara O’Sullivan has stepped away for the league, Orlaith Cahalane is concentrating on camogie this year, Eimear Kiely hasn’t returned to action from her ACL injury yet, while Cork are handing several young players the chance to shine who have to learn fast on the job. 

‘We have a mantra that if you are in the scoring zone and have an opportunity, then take the shot. If you don’t shoot, you are not going to score. There is no criticism of any player for kicking the ball wide if you are in the scoring zone,’ Ronayne explained. 

‘I am looking at where we are shooting from and we are not shooting from the main scoring zone. Against Kerry, they defended well, but there were opportunities yet players didn’t take the shot. Some are new to this level so maybe there is a fear element, but we are trying to instill in them to be brave and take the shot. We have to work on that in training and get their confidence levels up. If they can get their shooting boots on against Waterford, we should be okay.

‘We have really good forwards who have impressed with their clubs and they are involved with the county team because they can score with their clubs. They need to believe in themselves, that’s a big thing. It’s a big step up from club to county, but they have the ability.’

Ronayne is also wary of a Waterford team that has scored two goals in every league game this season. He said: ‘If they get two goals early against us it gives us a mountain to climb, so we need to be ready for that.’

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