Galway camogie prepare for battle with Cork in bid to top group

8 September 2019; Galway manager Cathal Murray before the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship Final match between Galway and Kilkenny at Croke Park in Dublin.

8 September 2019; Galway manager Cathal Murray before the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship Final match between Galway and Kilkenny at Croke Park in Dublin.

All Ireland camogie champions Galway are preparing for a showdown with Cork when the two sides meet on Sunday in Pearse Stadium (2pm ).

While Galway ovecame Offaly by 3-13 to 0-3 at Pearse Stadium at the weekend, Cork were comfortable 3-12 to 1-8 winners over Wexford.

While both have qualified for a quarter-final, the winner of Sunday's final group one fixture will top the group and head directly to the semi-final.

Galway manager Cathal Murray says Cork are "favourites for the All-Ireland for a reason".

"They’ve been there and done that. It’s a huge task for us next week, but it’s something we’re looking forward to.

“I was listening to [Cork manager] Paudie [Murray] and he was talking about how it wasn’t worth his while coming up, but we know how good Cork are. They’ve Gemma O’Connor to come into the team, Saoirse McCarthy came on [against Wexford], Cliona Healy came on.

“Where we are and where Cork are, we have two chances to get to a semi-final. You either take the chance next week or you go into a quarter-final against the likes of Tipperary, Waterford or Clare. That’s a lottery, and you get caught there. So there’s a lot at stake and I’m sure it’s gonna be a cracker.”

A brace of first-half goals from Niamh Hanniffy and one from Aoife Donohue ensured the champions were comfortable winners over an under-strength Offaly at a rain-sodden Pearse Stadium last weekend.

The damage was done in the first half as they led 0-6 to 0-0 approaching the first water break. Then Hanniffy struck the all important from a move started when Aoife Donohue won the opposition puck out after a Carrie Dolan point. Orlaith McGrath then transferred to Ailish O’Reilly, who spotting a trademark run from deep by Hanniffy, sent a perfectly-weighted one-handed stick pass into the centre. Hanniffy controlled and shot without handling, and although Offaly goalie Mairéad Jennings bravely blocked with her body, Hanniffy sent the rebound home.

The half-forward’s second goal arrived on the half hour, and again it was the Donohue-McGrath tandem involved, the midfielder hitting her pacy teammate with another astute diagonal.McGrath left the cover for dead with a lightning swivel and solo deep into danger territory before feeding Hanniffy, whose shot was too powerful for Jennings to keep out.

While dual player Gráinne Egan shot Offaly’s only score of the opening period with an outstanding effort off her left, Niamh Kilkenny raised the flag four times as Galway led 2-11 to 0-1 at half-time.

As conditions worsened, and with the game won, the scoring rate slowed, but Donohue pounced for goal in the 34th minute for a third Galway goal.

“In the first half, we’re really happy with the way we played”, Murray said. “2-11 is a great score at half-time. It’s wet and cold out there. The second half went away from us a small bit. We probably tried to take too much out of the ball and walk it into the net but overall we’re happy.

“It’s atrocious conditions. It’s awful hard playing into that breeze and the wind. We came here looking for the victory. There’s plenty to improve on, but we’re happy. "

 

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