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Cronin’s return a ‘bonus’ ahead of Wexford clash

May 21st, 2022 8:00 AM

By Ger McCarthy

The victorious Cork camogie team that beat Clare in a memorable Munster final. (Photos: Colbert O'Sullivan).

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Newly crowned Munster champions Cork have little time to bask in glow of their success ahead of this weekend’s 2022 Glen Dimplex Senior All-Ireland Camogie championship opener away to Wexford.

Matthew Twomey oversaw Cork’s memorable double extra-time defeat of Clare in last Saturday evening’s Munster final at Páirc Uí Rinn. An instant classic, Cork needed two additional time periods to see off a dogged Clare outfit 0-24 to 1-18.

Amy O’Connor provided the bulk of Cork’s scores (0-10) with Chloe Sigerson, Katrina Mackey, Fiona Keating, Saoirse McCarthy and Orla Cronin also contributing. Cronin’s welcome return to competitive action allied with Cork’s never-say-die spirit pleased the Rebel’s manager at the conclusion of a pulsating contest.

‘First and foremost, we were looking for a performance against Clare as we were without five starters,’ Twomey told The Southern Star.

‘It was the girls' character and the way they won the game was huge for us. They are never beaten. Looking back, maybe had we lost the Munster final after losing the National League final (to Galway) maybe that might have put a bit of doubt in people’s minds about us.

‘As for Orla (Cronin), she is just an outstanding player. She just glides around the field and is always available for the ball. She is a fantastic player and a great person to have around the place. We were hoping to give her 30 minutes but she ended up getting about 60 in the end. Orla was buzzing afterwards and a bonus that she came away injury-free from it.’

Another provincial title secured; Cork begin their quest to reach a second consecutive All-Ireland senior Camogie final away to Wexford this weekend. Drawn in a difficult qualifying group, Twomey’s charges will also face last weekend’s Munster finalists Clare, Dublin, Waterford and Tipperary over the coming weeks.

Wexford should provide stiff opposition having claimed this year’s Littlewoods Camogie National League Division 2 title in impressive fashion.

Group wins over Cork (intermediates), Derry, Meath and Kildare preceded an eight-point quarter-final defeat of Kilkenny (intermediates) and six-point win over Waterford in the last four. Wexford’s superb 3-12 to 0-14 victory over Antrim in the league final underlined an emerging panel’s capabilities. Matthew Twomey and his players are not underestimating the challenge that Wexford will pose on their home ground.

‘We played Wexford in a challenge match at the start of the year and it was as intense as the Clare Munster final game last weekend,’ the Cork manager said.

‘They (Wexford) were full on, in our faces and didn’t give us a minute to breathe. We know exactly what they are going to bring this weekend. Their manager Kevin Tattan is doing a great job down there.

‘Going down to Wexford is never easy and we know it is going to be a hostile atmosphere. It is up to our players to match Wexford’s performance and match their aggression.

‘As part of their recovery after the Clare match, all of the Cork players were straight into the swimming pool or down to the beach. It is a case of recovering from the battle they had in Páirc Uí Rinn before concentrating on what we need to do, work on our tactics, ahead of travelling to Wexford.

‘We had only played one game since the National League final against Waterford and you need games to get into the nitty-gritty stuff. Clare gave us an ideal test ahead of this weekend’s All- match and we just need to keep progressing and use it as a springboard for the All-Ireland series.’

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