Sport

Dawn of a new era for Cork ladies football

May 14th, 2022 7:00 PM

By Ger McCarthy

Cork manager Shane Ronayne.

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Cork head to Waterford for this weekend’s Munster LGFA SFC semi-final eager to get their championship campaign off to a flying start.

A well-prepared Cork senior panel is wary of a Waterford side that are always difficult to overcome ahead of Sunday’s last four encounter.

Shane Ronayne and his management team has overseen an intensive six-week training block. Now, Cork captain Máire O’Callaghan and her team mates are looking forward to the challenge of taking on Waterford in their own backyard.

‘We have had a good six weeks together and while it has been tough going it has been great to get that time and all that preparation in,’ the Cork captain told The Southern Star.

‘We are all raring to go and the Cork squad has gelled really well. We can have no complaints with how our preparation has gone. All this time together as a squad has been priceless.’

West Cork and Beara are well represented in Cork’s upcoming Munster and All-Ireland senior championship panel.

Clare O’Shea, Áine Terry O’Sullivan, Emma Spillane, Melissa Duggan, Orla Finn, Faye Ahern, Laura O’Mahony, Martina O’Brien, Libby Coppinger are all involved along with seven of captain Máire O’Callaghan’s Cork LGFA County and provincial championship winning Mourneabbey team mates.

Of that group, Laura Fitzgerald’s return to the Cork fold is a deserved and welcome development.

‘It is great to have Laura back involved with Cork again because she had such a fantastic club campaign with Mourneabbey,’ Máire O’Callaghan said.

‘Laura is working very hard and would be an unreal addition to an inter-county setup. It is great to have her back.’

Cork’s previous meeting with Waterford took place in MTU back in March.

Shane Ronayne’s side avoided a Lidl LGFA National Football League Division 1B relegation play-off thanks to 1-14 to 0-14 victory that afternoon. Cork’s manager is expecting a similarly tough challenge once again on Sunday.

‘We were well ahead in the second half but Waterford kept plugging away, that’s the way they are, they don’t give up and have a lot of very good players,’ Shane Ronayne said.

‘We know if we want to achieve bigger things in the senior championship that we have to get over Waterford first.’

Having completed a six-week block of intense training, the Cork senior panel is primed and ready for the upcoming Munster and All-Ireland championships.

‘Championship football is a different gravy altogether,’ Máire O’Callaghan said.

‘You have to account for nerves that some of the players will have coming into a big championship game like this, especially after such a long layoff.’

Championship game-day is finally here for a Cork side eager to impact this year’s All-Ireland LGFA championship, starting with Waterford on Sunday.

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