CORK camogie manager Paudie Murray isn’t placing any special significance on Sunday’s Littlewoods Irelands Camogie League Division 1 final just because Kilkenny are the opponents.
The All-Ireland champions take on the side they have met in the last two finals – and last year’s league decider – at Nowlan Park at 1.30pm on Sunday, but Murray doesn’t believe that the outcome will have too many lasting effects.
‘I don’t think, for what comes after this, that it’s important in that way,’ he says.
‘All I can do is talk about ourselves and what we have done so far this year.
I think we’ll go into a league final with just ten pitch sessions done this year, so I think it would be an extraordinary result if we happened to pull it off, especially going to Kilkenny and with the number of injuries that we’d had.
‘Our preparations for the league final have been pretty abysmal, really, so what are we looking for? We’re looking for people to show a bit of character and to work hard for each other, that’s all we can do here, really.
‘I don’t ever worry about getting one over the opponent, I don’t believe in that kind of carry-on, really. You could read the same into it last year, they beat us in the league final and we went on and beat them in the All-Ireland.
‘The main thing for is that we show character.’
Sunday’s clash will be Cork’s first game in four weeks. Part of the reason for the unusual scheduling is to allow the camogie decider to go on the same bill as the Kilkenny-Tipperary Allianz HL Division 1 final, which takes place at 3.30pm and Murray hopes for a large attendance, even if it may not exactly benefit his side.
‘I would hope that it would be a good thing,’ he says.
‘The more people that watch the game, and the fact that it’s televised, can only benefit camogie.
‘You would hope that a big crowd would come and watch, too – and I’m not just saying this for Cork’s sake, as a big crowd is likelier to have
more Kilkenny people in it.’
Of course, while the venue is in Kilkenny, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s territory which which will automatically be advantageous to Ann Downey’s side.
‘We’re probably going back four or five years since we played Kilkenny in Nowlan Park,’ Murray says.
‘It has always been a good ground for us, there are very few games we have lost there. However, to go in and try to beat Kilkenny in their home ground, in front of a crowd that would be far more pro-Kilkenny than us is very difficult, I think it’s a huge ask for our team to win there.
‘I don’t have any problem going there at the same time, I think it will be good for our team, we have never earmarked the league as being our main goal for the year, so from a team-building point of view I think it can only benefit us.’