Hurling and camogie

Coulter delighted as Derry see off Cork to book place in qualifiers

Derry's Caoimhe Glass (left) got through a lot unseen work according to her manager Martin Coulter in their All-Ireland Intermediate Championship win over Cork at the weekend Picture Margaret McLaughlin.
Séamas McAleenan

Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Intermediate championship

DERRY manager Martin Coulter felt a sense of relief after his charges saw off unbeaten Cork in Owenbeg on Sunday to claim a place in the qualifiers.

“We didn't see the result coming from Wexford on Saturday. You would have put money on Kilkenny to beat them. But they didn't and suddenly our last game next Saturday was going to be pretty tricky. Travelling down to a team that has just won a couple of games in a row, well that wasn't going to be a great place for us to be honest," Coulter said.

Wexford surprised Kilkenny to win by seven points and move on to the same group points as Kilkenny and Derry and that meant that the match between Derry and Wexford effectively became a quarter-final eliminator. It would be the end of the line for the team that lost.

“I had mentioned it before that home venue is a big advantage at this level and we wanted to make Owenbeg count against Cork,” said the former Down hurler.

“We had told the girls that Cork would have their purple patches and that during that spell we needed to slow the game down and reset, that it would take someone to get a turn over, or win a free and that would slow their momentum.

“Cork got that purple patch just after half-time when their No 10 (Joanne Casey) came on. A good player, they had good players in a lot of positions. But defensively we were excellent. Our defenders are good communicators. They talk, they cover and we were able to work ball out of defence.

“And don't forget the work that Dervla (O'Kane) and Caoimhe (Glass) did dropping back covering free players. It is work that you don't see because they are not on the ball. They were immense.

“Megan Kerr was a superstar for us again, Máiréad McNicholl brilliant as well. Look, the girls put in a big shift and they got the result at the end and we have qualified for the knock-out stages. That takes a bit of pressure off us going down to Wexford.”

Sunday's result will lift the team and indeed the management after a run of injuries in recent weeks. These included experienced Slaughtneil pair Aoife Ní Chaiside and Clíodhna Ní Mhianáin who both missed the game.

“Yeah, we have had a bad run there and we were short on the bench as a result. But I am hopeful of that changing as well.

“A few of the girls surprised me by taking part in the warm up and that is encouraging. I wasn't expecting that.

“We will get them assessed during the week with the physio and hopefully one or two of them will be able to take some part in the game next week.”

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