Daniel S Walsh reports
CORK made it three Littlewoods National Camogie League Division 1 wins on the trot as they saw off Waterford at Castle Road.
Following the victory over Tipperary and a walkover against Wexford the previous week, it leaves Cork with full points ahead of their last match against Galway on February 24th. It guarantees a spot in the knockout stages and pitches that game against the Tribeswomen as a play-off for top spot in the group.
Courcey Rovers star Saoirse McCarthy marked her first start with a goal and a point from corner forward, while Ciara McCarthy (Aghabullogue) showed up well at midfield on her bow.
Cork manager Paudie Murray was pleased overall with how his side did, while acknowledging that there is room for improvement.
‘We got the job done,’ he said.
‘We played quite well for ten minutes but, beyond that, I felt we were quite mediocre, the ball in was poor a lot of the time.
‘One positive was that we blooded quite a few new players, Ciara McCarthy started at midfield in her first game and showed a lot to say that she has a good future there. Saoirse McCarthy had her first start too and did well, so from that point of view it was a good outing.’
As well as the McCarthys, Briege Corkery and Niamh O’Callaghan were handed starts while Julia White made a welcome return from injury and goalkeeper Amy Lee, Katie McCarthy, Cliona Healy and Siobhán Hutchison were all handed game-time too.
Three goals in quick succession put the game in Cork’s control and a 3-3 to 0-5 half-time lead was never going to be relinquished.
While the Rebels played against the wind, Waterford couldn’t take advantage as they had three early wides and Saoirse McCarthy had the game’s opening score. Though Orla Hickey and Beth Carton had Waterford ahead, Orla Cronin and Julia White set up Amy O’Connor for the first goal and Saoirse McCarthy added another soon after before O’Connor got her second.
Further points from O’Connor and Linda Collins ensured Cork were comfortable by the break, with Carton adding to Waterford’s tally, though the outcome looked decided even at that early stage.
While Niamh Rockett did cut the gap slightly on the resumption, Orla Cotter (two) and Ciara McCarthy extended Cork’s breathing space and, as the substitutes’ bench was emptied, the game petered out.
Galway’s big win over Wexford leaves them with two wins from two, meaning a win for them this weekend against Waterford would leave them level with Cork ahead of the last game.
Theoretically, Cork’s weekend off allows for some concentrated training, but unfortunately for Murray it’s not as simple as that. Nevertheless, he is anticipating a stiff test when the team do get back back in action.
‘The Ashbourne is on next week so we won’t see some of the girls until after that’s over,’ he says.
‘It’s hard to get a lot done and then you don’t want to be overdoing things when those players do come back as I’m conscious of the kind of training we’ve been doing – we’re not training for championship, let’s put it that way.
‘In February, it’s always a fairly heavy slog and you can see in the games that we’ve played that the girls have started to tire around the 40-minute mark. It’s not an easy workload.
‘The Galway game will be tough, most likely winner-takes-all for the top spot in the group and what people would say is an easier semi-final. It’ll tell us where we’re at and be a good test.
‘Galway have been going well so far, they’ve played a strong team in all of their games and it definitely won’t be easy but that’s not a bad thing.’
Cork: A O’Connor 2-1, O Cotter 0-4f, Saoirse McCarthy 1-1, L Collins, C McCarthy 0-1 each.
Waterford: B Carton 0-6 (3f), N Rockett 0-2, A Power, O Hickey 0-1 each.
Cork: A Murray; N O’Callaghan, L Treacy, L Hayes; H Looney, B Corkery, C Sigerson; C McCarthy, A Thompson; A O’Connor, O Cronin, J White; O Cotter, L Collins, S McCarthy.
Subs: A Lee for Murray (35), K McCarthy for Looney (39), C Healy for S McCarthy (45), S Hutchinson for White (48).
Waterford: C Jackman; S Harney, I Heffernan, M Power; A Landers, A Lyng, C Whyte; C McGrath, L Bray; K Corbett-Barry, O Hickey, B Carton; N Rockett, A Power, K Tobin.
Subs: K Lynch for White, C Griffin for Landers (both half-time), S Fitzgerald for McGrath, S Curran for Tobin (both 45), N Murphy for Rockett (57).