LADIES football legend Cora Staunton feels that an empty Croke Park can help Cork’s bid to dethrone Dublin this Sunday.
The Dubs bring a huge fan base with them and over 56,000 packed into Croke Park last year to watch them defeat Galway in the All-Ireland final and clinch the three-in-a-row – and that was a record attendance. That was up on the 50,141 that were in Croke Park the previous year (2018) to see Dublin beat Cork in the ladies’ decider.
But because of Level 3 restrictions there will be no supporters in Croke Park for this Sunday’s final, and that could boost Cork’s chances of causing an upset according to Mayo star Cora Staunton.
‘Dublin are in their seventh final in a row and going for the four in a row. We played against the Dubs in 2017 and they are used to that energy on All-Ireland final day whereas there are not too many girls on the Cork team that have won All-Ireland (senior) finals, while possibly the whole Dublin team has,’ Staunton told the Star Sport Podcast.
‘I do think an empty stadium can help the younger Cork players. If they make a mistake the crowd isn’t getting on their back. If Dublin are going well that energy from the crowd won’t be there. If Cork are going well and Dublin need extra motivation or support or energy, the crowd isn’t there.
‘I do think, and in particular for this final, that’s quite an advantage for Cork because Dublin have been in All-Ireland finals for the past seven years and they have won titles whereas this is a relatively new Cork team with some experienced players.’
Staunton is predicting a very close game this Sunday and she feels that the form of the Dublin attack offers hope to challengers Cork.
‘This year I have watched Dublin in their three games to date and at times – against Donegal, Waterford and Armagh – their forward line, while having some good individual performances, collectively they haven’t been playing very well,’ Staunton explains.
‘Individually they have had some very standout performances – it was Carla Rowe the last day (against Armagh), Lyndsey Davey has been very consistent over the three games, Sinead Aherne has been in and out, but as a group they haven’t collectively been clicking like they have in the past.
‘They have scored five goals to date and conceded six, whereas Cork have scored goals more freely. If the Dublin forward line aren’t clicking and play very individually like they have been, that will work to Cork’s advantage.’