Saturday 24 February 2018

Final return the focus for Cotter

CAMOGIE

After five pulsating rounds of action, Cork are top of the table heading into this weekend's crucial home tie against Tipperary in this season's All-Ireland senior championship.

A quick look at the statistics reveals how much the Leesiders' impressive forward line of Jennifer O'Leary, Katrina Mackey and Sile Burns has contributed to their overall scoring total of 16-82.

At the other end of the field, their defence, marshalled by the outstanding Rena Buckley, have been superb, conceding a lowly 46 points to date.

Cork midfielder Orla Cotter, who has made an excellent return to form after recovering from a broken jaw earlier in the season, is quick to highlight the important role of the defence in the bid for ultimate glory for the 2008 and '09 champions.

"Aoife Murray has been outstanding in goal, while Rena has slotted in brilliantly at centre-back," Cotter said.

"In addition, Amanda O'Regan has returned to the full-back slot, while Elaine O'Riordan has come in on the wing and Anna Geary, who won an All Star in 2010, has been excellent all season.

"Definitely, our defence have been brilliant. Overall, though, I would say it's a whole team thing, with everything knitting together pretty well at this point.

"The number of games has brought us on a huge amount as well."

The introduction of Joe O'Brien to the management team has, according to Cotter, "freshened things up".

"I think a new trainer helps to bring in new ideas and freshens up everything. Overall, the team have been working well together and it is coming together nicely."

The disappointment of last year's semi-final replay defeat to Galway has also been highlighted as a motivating factor for this year's side.

"We were incredibly disappointed with last year, and this year our sole focus is on getting back to the final. As a team, we want to get there," she said.

As for the impending clash with Tipperary, the midfielder expects a typically intense encounter between two great rivals.

"All of the games with Tipperary down through the years have been tough and we expect no less on Saturday. there is a lot at stake and we will need to be ready for them."

Irish Independent

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