Down camogs have it all to do against Cork
Camogie: All-Ireland Senior Championship: Down v Cork (tomorrow, Pairc Esler, 3pm)
HOW full is Down’s cup after last weekend’s trip to Waterford?
On the one hand, they played the game at the same level as Waterford, but on the other hand, they didn’t finish the job with a win or even a draw, falling when they were into the home straight.
In many respects Down set out a strong stall and made the running with Niamh Mallon having one of her best days for a while.
The loss of Sara-Louise Graffin early in the second half was a blow as the Clonduff stalwart was the team’s saviour with big plays towards the end of the league final and the Ulster decider in recent weeks. Could she have pulled something else out of the locker at the death in Walsh Park?
It was a tough lesson in the harsh realities of playing at the top level. If you take your eye off the action, you pay for it. And the gradient gets steeper this Saturday even though last year’s Intermediate champions will be playing at home.
Cork opened up Dublin at will in the other game in Down’s group last Sunday, Amy O’Connor finishing a brilliant team move in the opening minute with a tap in goal and the same player added a second goal early in the second half as Cork won by 2-19 to 0-12.
Hannah Looney was a force through the centre while Katrina Mackey and Chloe Sigerson popped over a series of scores from open play and from frees.
Cork are still a top three team and will challenge for the senior title over the summer. Traditionally they have shown little mercy for teams new to senior level and have been ruthlessly efficient.
Down will probably be on a damage limitation exercise and that could be more difficult depending on the availability of Graffin.
The result of the other game in the group should be very interesting and give Down a clue what to expect next weekend from the visit of Dublin. I think that Waterford will beat them – not by much, but by enough to give Down something to fight for in their final group game.
Meanwhile, Group One is spread over Saturday and Sunday, but the two teams that won last week, Wexford and Tipperary, should be able to qualify for the knock-out stages with a second victory each.
The same should happen in Group Three with Galway and Kilkenny strongly tipped to leave Clare and Westmeath stuck in a relegation dog-fight next weekend.
Verdict: Wins for Cork, Waterford, Tipperary, Wexford, Kilkenny and Galway
Saturday July 24
Down v Cork (Pairc Esler, 3pm)
Wexford v Offaly (Wexford Park, 2.30pm)
Dublin v Waterford (Parnell Park, 5pm)
Galway v Clare (Athenry, 4pm)
Westmeath v Kilkenny (Cusack Park, 2pm)
Sunday July 25
Tipperary v Limerick (Nenagh, 2pm)