Thursday 19 October 2017

Corkery upbeat as Cork chase compensation

Marie Crowe

Marie Crowe

The Cork ladies football team have been the dominant force in the game for the last decade. They are going for their seventh All-Ireland title in eight years and when details of their dedication and commitment are revealed, it's no surprise. This group of girls are relatively unchanged since their success started and every year they train hard to keep their record going.

Year after year, they are doing several sessions a week; they've introduced weights, upped their level of fitness and are constantly working on tactics. In the off-season the majority of the squad keep in shape by playing sports like basketball, rugby and soccer at the top level.

"The girls are unbelievable to train," explains Briege Corkery.

"Juliet Murphy could set a standard at one training and then Deirdre O'Reilly could raise the bar at the next session. It's not always the same person leading. We don't rely on one person to win the game for us, there are 15 leaders on our team."

Corkery, along with the Cork captain Rena Buckley, are dual players, and just three weeks ago they played in the All-Ireland camogie final against Wexford in Croke Park and lost. The defeat cut deep and, according to Corkery, they don't want to go back there again.

"We underperformed and there is nothing worse than losing when you know you didn't give 100 per cent. I don't want to feel that way again. It is a consolation that we're back in a final again, but you'll always have the regrets of not winning the camogie," says Corkery.

"You have to think positive really, but I was only saying to my sister recently that the worst place to lose is in Croke Park.Hopefully, it won't happen again and that we come out with guns blazing and see what we can do."

Cork manager Eamonn Ryan has played a huge part in their success. He was asked to help out eight years ago and hasn't looked back since. He's one of the most respected coaches in the country, his record of six All-Ireland titles with this team speaks for itself and Corkery admits they are lucky to have him.

"He is one of the best trainers I've ever played under. We don't appreciate him enough, there are men's teams crying out for him to go work with them and if he did he'd probably get a lot more credit and recognition for the work he does but he stays with us and we're very grateful for that.

"He switches up training every week and never does the same drill, it's always interesting and we're never bored. We all get on great with him and he's got a very professional backroom team and set-up in general."

They face Kerry today and while Cork are red-hot favourites they won't take anything for granted. The two sides met in the Munster final in July and Cork won by 3-12 to 2-9. Cork got an early lead but and although Kerry fought back, they never looked like winning. Cork went on to hammer Donegal by 8-27 to 0-2 in the All-Ireland quarter-final and then eased past Monaghan to secure a final spot.

It will take Cork having an off-day for Kerry to prosper and while it's unlikely that will happen, Corkery has the camogie final loss from three weeks ago to keep her motivated.

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