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Cork rely on bench press as O’Duffy Dup defence begins

May 24th, 2024 8:05 PM

By Southern Star Team

Cork rely on bench press as O’Duffy Dup defence begins Image
All-Ireland winning Cork camogie star Fiona Keating.

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Continuing to build the depth of the panel is a key element of the Cork strategy, as they get their defence of their Glen Dimplex All-Ireland senior camogie crown under way against Wexford at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday (2pm).

The O’Duffy Cup holders did not make the Division 1 final of the Very Camogie League but registered a 60th Munster title at Semple Stadium last Sunday when defeating Waterford in a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland final.

It was a far more keenly contested affair on this occasion, however, but just as in last season’s championship, the bench press was crucial, with Clodagh Finn hitting two points after her introduction and fellow subs, Clíona Healy and Orlaith Mullins also on target.

Another sub, Ciara O’Sullivan made an impact after missing last year with a cruciate knee ligament injury.

And this was while they have had to reshuffle the heart of their defence, with the experienced anchors in full-back, Libby Coppinger and centre-back, Laura Treacy out of action with hamstring injuries. Dual star Coppinger has had surgery and according to manager Ger Manley, will be on the sidelines for between eight and ten weeks.

'For the likes of Clodagh Finn, Ciara Sull, to come back after her cruciate injury and make a difference when she came on, is massive,' noted Fiona Keating afterwards.

'It shows the strength of the panel. We’re always on about that. It takes more than 15 players to finish a match.'

It is very obviously a theme in the dressing room given how often it comes up but the benefits are obvious, in terms of adding energy and quality when a game has opened up, but also raising standards with the battle for places so ferocious.

'They’ve been doing that every game,' says Amy O’Connor of the finishers. 'It’s brilliant that we’re building again, another bench this year. That’s why we won the All-Ireland last year so hopefully we can keep building on it.'

Manley credited his predecessor, Matthew Twomey, who he worked with as a coach in the past two years, for building the squad and the ethic that enables it to flourish.

It will be important in what he believes is one of the most competitive championships ever.

'Camogie has levelled off an awful lot,' Manley maintains. 'There is very little between the top six or seven teams.

'We have a big game against Wexford. They are going well. There is very little between all the teams in our group, but we have that bit of quality in the squad and we are hoping it will come through for it.

'We’ve been trying to make it like that. Matthew Twomey built a squad over the past couple of years.'

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