Hurling & Camogie

Cork and Galway senior camogs meet for top spot

Only one game in Group 2 of the All-Ireland series has any significance this weekend

Niamh Mallon
Down native Niamh Mallon has re-energised the Galway attack this season Picture: Sportsfile (David Fitzgerald / SPORTSFILE/SPORTSFILE)

Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship Group 2, round five

Down v Dublin (Liatroim)

Clare v Wexford (Cusack Park, Ennis)

Cork v Galway (SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaíomh)

THE top-of-the-table clash at SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaíomh is really the only key game in Group 2.

As with Group 1, Galway can leapfrog current leaders Cork if they pull off a victory, while there is little chance of Dublin slipping up in Liatroim against Down.

Assuming the Dubs beat the already-relegated Ulster team, then the third game in Ennis becomes irrelevant.

While Cork had no difficulty in reeling off four wins to date, Galway slipped up in round two with a draw against Wexford, when their newly recruited scoring star, Niamh Mallon, went off injured after opening the scoring.

Mallon had hit 10 points in the opening win over Dublin and equalled that last Saturday with a 2-4 return from 40 minutes on the pitch against Clare.

Her former striking partner in Down teams, Sorcha McCartan, wouldn’t make that kind of return in the colours of Cork, but the physical presence of the Castlewellan native has added something to the Leesiders and helped them reclaim the All-Ireland title last summer.

Last Saturday, Cork limbered up for this clash with a very impressive 4-22 to 0-5 win over a Dublin side that had run Galway to three points in the opening round.

Based upon that statistic alone, with home advantage thrown in, Cork will start favourites but Galway’s bench might well determine the result.

Down are already relegated to the intermediate championship after four seasons in the top flight. Even with Mallon and other stalwarts like Catherine McGourty and Sara Louise Graffin it was a struggle for them to retain senior status last season. This season they looked very inexperienced for the group in which they found themselves.

Dublin need to win in Liatroim and they will surely achieve that. Down have given an honest account of themselves in each game and found a few younger players along the way – such as Orlaith McCusker, Sophie and Niamh McGrath. If they avoid a heavy defeat, they will be relatively happy.

A Dublin win, of course, means that it doesn’t matter who wins in Ennis. Since all three games are happening at the same time, you could see a change in approach after half-time if there is nothing to be gained by either Wexford or Clare.

Verdict Wins for Dublin and Galway with Wexford probably wanting to prove something to themselves.