Ronayne: We can’t let Kerry build lead in final

May 27th, 2023 1:00 PM

By Kieran McCarthy

Cork manager Shane Ronayne. (Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile)

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SHANE Ronayne has a warning for his Cork side ahead of Sunday’s Munster LGFA senior championship final: if we let Kerry build a big lead again, they won’t give it up.

 In the round-robin stage of the provincial competition Cork allowed the Kingdom push ten points ahead in their clash at Páirc Uí Chaoimh before the Rebels dramatically reeled Kerry in to draw the game.

With goals from Eimear Kiely and Orlaith Cahalane, current Munster champions Cork stunned Kerry with a late scoring burst of 2-4 to level the derby, 2-14 apiece, but Ronayne admits the chances of lightning striking twice are slim.

‘We have to make a huge improvement from that game in Páirc Uí Chaoimh because you can’t give a team like Kerry a ten-point lead. If they get ten points up on Sunday they won’t be leaving that go,’ he says ahead of the provincial final in Mallow (3.30pm).

‘Lots of things didn’t function right for us that day. Our own kick-outs, Kerry put a huge high press on, and it’s something we have worked hard on for the last few weeks. We did well against the Kerry kick-out in the league game earlier in the year, they learned from that and we didn't do so well the last day.  We know we can’t start the way we did or give them that opportunity because Kerry can punish you.

‘If we give them the same lead you can be sure the door will be shut on us.’

After conceding 1-14 in their three-point win over Tipperary in the first round and shipping 2-14 in the draw against Kerry, Cork tightened up considerably in their final group win, 2-10 to 0-4, against Waterford. The Déise kicked just one point from play in Clonakilty.

‘If we concede anywhere around 2-14 or 1-14 we probably won't win the Munster title so that’s something we are working on,’ Ronayne says.

‘We were wide open a lot of the time against Kerry in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, they have class forwards and they will punish you. It wasn’t something that we had a whole pile of time to work on before the Waterford game but we made sure we were more defensively solid there. No disrespect to Waterford, but the calibre of forwards that Kerry have, we still coughed up opportunities to Waterford and if we do likewise, Kerry they will take them.’

Ronayne describes Division 1 league champions Kerry as ‘the best team in the country at the moment’, but says Cork are in no mood to relinquish their Munster crown. Being the top team in their own backyard means a lot to the Rebels.

‘It’s very important. We never took Munster titles for granted even all those times when the girls were winning all those All-Ireland titles; the Munster title always meant something. I remember when we lost it in 2015 when Eamonn (Ryan) was there and we were very disappointed. It has always mattered,’ the Cork manager says.

‘This year, because it was a round-robin we had three very good games and we got a lot out of it. This is a chance to play against who I think is the best team in the country at the moment; we got a draw against them the last day and we were fortunate to get that. That draw against them improved us, we were better against Waterford in the next game and we are getting better by the game.’

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