THEY have lost their unbeaten record since they drew the Munster ladies’ JAFC final against Templemore of Tipperary last month, but Bantry Blues are in confident form ahead of the provincial final replay this Sunday, in Mayfield, at 2pm.
A 3-10 to 2-11 loss to Kinsale in the West Cork championship was Bantry’s first defeat of the season, but the county champions are intent on adding the Munster crown to their trophy haul this Sunday.
‘The Kinsale game shouldn’t dent any confidence. We were missing six or seven players that day and we still produced some super football. We lost by two points in the end after we got fairly tired but we won’t drop the heads after that game certainly,’ manager Paul Drummey said, before giving an injury update ahead of the rematch against Templemore this weekend.
‘The injuries we have are slow healing but we will give the girls all the time they need to prove their fitness. We’ve had a few weeks since the drawn game so it’s been about maintenance and getting the bodies right.
‘Emer O’Shea is definitely out. She injured her cruciate in the first game. We wish her a very speedy recovery.’
Reflecting on that 1-10 apiece drawn final against the Tipp team, it was a game where Bantry led by three points (1-10 to 1-7) three minutes into injury time. But in a lengthy injury time, due to Emer O’Shea’s injury, Templemore struck back to level and force a replay.
‘A few things we have learned from the drawn game is that we need to be more clinical in front of goals and look after the ball slightly better than we did. The pleasing aspect is we’re getting into areas to create chances though,’ Drummey said.
‘For a young team Templemore are very physical and they use that strength throughout their team. They have very strong girls down the middle and we must try and play around that and move the ball quickly.
‘This is going to be about small margins and we will make sure those margins are used in our favour.’
Bantry will again look to Libby Coppinger and Aoife O’Driscoll for scores up front while Emma Spillane is a key player in the Blues midfield. The half-back line of Mairead Dullea, Ann Coakley and Laura O’Sullivan was very solid in the drawn game and more will be needed once more, especially against a Templemore team that caused problems with their powerful running from deep.
Verdict: Bantry Blues.