Monday 5 December 2016

Talking heads: Camogie players offer their thoughts

Big-match views from other counties

Published 11/09/2016 | 02:30

Wexford's Kate Kelly. Photo: Ken Sutton/INPHO
Wexford's Kate Kelly. Photo: Ken Sutton/INPHO
Offaly's Michaela Morkan. Photo: Tommy Grealy/INPHO
Limerick's Niamh Mulcahy. Photo: Ken Sutton/INPHO
Tipperary's Sarah Fryday of Tipperary. Photo: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Kate Kelly (Wexford) The team under most pressure: Cork will be more relaxed about it I think. The likes of Briege Corkery and Rena Buckley won't be feeling too much pressure after winning 16 All-Irelands. I just don't think Cork will have that at this stage, that nothing fazes them after being in the final seven times in the last 10 years and won five.

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Kilkenny might be a bit anxious. They need to learn to deal with that. A lot will depend on how quickly they settle in but I do think they've come of age. They were younger the last few times they appeared in finals.

Team characteristics: I can't see Gemma O'Connor pushing forward for Cork. How will Kilkenny deal with her sitting back? In fairness, Galway play a similar style and they adapted to that well in the semi-final. Their forwards are very clever with their running and laying the ball off. Croke Park is a big pitch so if they use that direct running and can hit long-range scores, they can get around Cork's system. They must avoid hitting long balls down the middle.

Key players: The two centre-backs Anne Dalton and Gemma O'Connor if they bring their 'A' game. It will be interesting to see the match-ups. Paudie Murray is big on those and he got them right against us in the semi-final. The midfield battle will be huge and all four are capable of taking long-range points. There are so many possibilities, with both sets of forwards moving about a lot, apart maybe from Michelle Quilty and Shelly Farrell in the full-forward line for Kilkenny.

Verdict: I've been thinking about it the last couple of weeks. There is nothing between the teams. Kilkenny might have the edge if they bring eagerness and intensity. We saw it in the hurling. Tipperary wanted that game, nothing would stop them. Cork haven't shown a lack of hunger but I don't know how they could have the same hunger as Kilkenny. Coming into the last 10 minutes if there's a point or two in it, will the know-how of Cork get them over line or the hunger of Kilkenny? My head is telling me Kilkenny might just shade it, if it isn't a draw.

MICHAELA MORKAN (OFFALY)

The team under most pressure: Cork are probably a bit more confident but Kilkenny might want it more. Maybe Cork might be under a bit more pressure to complete the three-in-a-row but it's a marginal thing.

Team characteristics: Cork's game plan is so difficult. I know from playing them how hard it is. They don't have set positions, they just go and create so many overlaps. It's getting better every year. Kilkenny are slightly different but it's clear that they have a plan and know exactly what they're doing. It will be interesting to see if they go with the Cork players as they move around. I think that's what you need to do.

Key players: Anne Dalton and Denise Gaule would be the two main ones for Kilkenny. Any day you can quieten Denise or Anne is a good day but that's easier said than done. I couldn't name any player for Cork, they're all so strong and with them, it's not about the individual but the way they work as a team.

Verdict: From playing the two teams, I think Cork will come out on top. They've got outstanding players and have developed this strategy that's hard to stop. You know what's coming but it's hard to combat it.

SARAH FRYDAY (TIPPERARY)

The team under most pressure: I think Cork are under most pressure. They're going for three-in-a-row against an up-and-running Kilkenny, free of injury. Like Tipp hurlers, they have tasted defeat enough, they have such hurt inside and Ann Downey has such an impact. They have nothing to lose. Cork will be under a lot of pressure.

Team characteristics: Cork are very defensive in the way that they play and as a forward, it's like trying to break through a wall. It can be very disheartening trying to break that system. Kilkenny have pace and movement in the forwards, which is ideal for breaking that sweeper system. It will be interesting to see if there's anything different. Kilkenny are lovely to watch. The Cork system has proven so successful but if any team can break it, it's Kilkenny.

Key players: Denise Gaule is going to be massive for Kilkenny and Katie Power coming back from injury has added so much. She has a lot of experience and a real head on her shoulders. Cork are very experienced: the Mackeys, Ashling Thompson, Briege Corkery and so many more but also the youngsters like Hannah Looney and Amy O'Connor have added vibrancy to an experienced unit.

Verdict: I'll be going with Kilkenny, they're such a nice bunch of hurlers, so talented and they've added a huge work rate and intensity. I think they will bring a performance on All-Ireland final day. That bottle of hurt will help too in the end.

NIAMH MULCAHY (LIMERICK)

The team under most pressure: You could say the pressure is on Kilkenny in that they have been in a few All-Ireland finals and probably haven't performed to their potential. It's been a long time since they won it as well. You see Cork going for a three-in-a-row and that adds pressure but I'd say there is more pressure on Kilkenny to perform well.

Team characteristics: I think it's going to be an intriguing battle in that they're both teams that like to carry the ball. Cork tend to play with a sweeper so the key for Kilkenny will be ensuring that Gemma O'Connor isn't Cork's free player. When she is free, she tends to dominate and drive forward. A lot of scores tend to come from that initial burst, drawing a player and popping it off. Ideally, you have to try to make sure that Cork don't have their most comfortable player in possession in the free role.

Key players: Gemma O'Connor for Cork, but Collette Dormer has had a great year for Kilkenny and she could be on Katrina Mackey, who has had a brilliant year too. With her pace, it might take someone like Collette to counter that. You think you've Katrina kept quiet for 50 minutes and she breaks clear in the last five or ten to score a goal, a few points and win a few frees maybe. Kilkenny tend to get a good few scores from play and in that respect, Denise Gaule might be very important, as well as her free-taking and ability to win aerial possession. Trying to keep Gemma quiet is also crucial for Kilkenny.

Verdict: I genuinely don't think I can call it. I'd be leaning towards a draw. It could be very tactical as Kilkenny might play a sweeper too. So it might come down to the last 10 minutes when it opens up a bit. It will be interesting to see if Cork use their bench, with the Intermediate final before it. There are very quick forwards on both sides and they might have to wait until those last 10 minutes to prosper.

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