PAUDIE Murray insists Cork must produce their best performance of the year to have any chance of overcoming Galway in Sunday’s All-Ireland senior camogie final.
The Cork manager is on record, since the beginning of the season, at stating Galway were one of the favourites for this year’s senior title.
When the counties clashed in the league semi-final in June, Galway won 1-19 to 1-17 after extra time, but Cork boss Murray didn’t learn anything that he didn’t already know about the Tribeswomen.
‘We have played them a number of times over the last two or three years and Galway are a phenomenally strong squad,’ Murray says.
‘You just look at their bench and that is the clearest indicator to how strong Galway are. You have players like Anne Marie Starr, Tara Kenny, Roisin Black, Niamh McGrath, Rebecca Hennelly and Noreen Cohen all potentially sitting on their bench.
‘Look, I have already said it. Cork will be up against it. We are a very, very young team and will have to play out of our skins to have any chance of beating Galway.’
Cork go into Sunday’s final off the back of a confidence-boosting All-Ireland semi-final win as they dethroned reigning champions Kilkenny – that was a big result for this Cork team.
‘I think our players can take confidence from the win over Kilkenny,’ Murray says.
‘They showed a lot of character. Sometimes, players look for evidence (of their ability) and it was there that day. They should be better prepared for Galway from that point of view.
‘Looking at it ourselves afterwards, there were certainly areas of that game that we were not happy about. We would need a massive improvement ahead of the next day. That’s what we are looking for, improvements in certain areas.
‘We are saying to the players that it needs to be personal bests in the All-Ireland final to have any chance. That’s what we are going after rather than anything else.’
Murray knows the relevance of small marginal gains, too. Those gains are what make the difference at the business end of any All-Ireland camogie championship.
‘Absolutely, it is getting the minute details right that gives you a chance,’ Murray notes.
‘We are going into this game the same way we went in against Kilkenny and the other games. We will just concentrate on ourselves. A lot of this Cork team are very young. Being down Orla Cronin is a huge, huge loss so it is just a case of concentrating on ourselves and producing a performance that will give us some sort of a chance.
‘I think we have improved with every game. The team has developed away nicely. A lot of the younger players are starting to improve. I go back to what I said earlier, we need to play out of our skin to have a chance here. This is a very experienced Galway team with five or six players over 30 years of age. Those girls might be looking at retiring in the near future as well so there is extra incentive on their side too to win this All-Ireland. So, yes, it is going to be tough.’
Murray, in his tenth season in charge, has experienced plenty of highs and lows as Cork camogie senior team manager but does he actually get to enjoy All-Ireland final days?
‘Not really because you are probably in a zone,’ Murray admits.
‘It is important, from a management point of view, that you don’t move out of that zone. You know very little of what’s going on outside that zone. It comes down to, if you win you are happy and if you don’t you are not. I suppose I have experienced both so you just have to take things on the chin and move on. That’s always been my view.’