Cork are the only team left in the Championship with a 100% record and the Rebels look hungry to avenge last year’s All-Ireland Final defeat by going all the way this year and regaining the O’Duffy Cup.
Kilkenny defeated Cork in last year’s Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Championship Final and stopped the Rebels' bid for three-in-a-row. The Cats again got the better of Cork in this year’s National League Division 1 Final but Cork midfielder Ashling Thompson believes that they have learned a lot from these defeats, “I think we’ve learned a lot from our own game and we’ve picked up a lot from other teams. We’ve learned so much from Kilkenny and the way they play.”
It’s the first time since 2014 that the Rebels haven’t been going into the Championship as regnning champions but Ashling is enjoying having the pressure off their shoulders and being able to just go out and play, “We just said look we’re not reigning champions anymore, we’ve nothing to lose so just go out and enjoy the game. The shackles are off and I think that’s where our new found confidence has come from.”
Cork have looked very impressive so far with four wins from four and finished as group winners. The Rebels looked very comfortable in their first three games against Tipp, Wexford and Limerick.
However, they did get a scare in Birr when they came up against a fearless Offaly side. Offaly led for the majority of the first half and the game was still in the balance in the final quarter. Though Cork’s experience stood out and they managed to get out of jail as they closed out the game with a 5 point win. Thompson said, “Going back to the Offaly game the last day we didn’t really leave the group stage on a good note. Yes, we won but I think we were lucky.”
Cork advanced straight to the last four and will now meet a strong Galway team who defeated Tipperary with ease in the Quarter-Finals. It will be over four weeks since their last competitive game when Cork lineout against the Tribeswomen and Thompson feels that will favour Galway, “There is a long gap between games there though so I think the other teams have an advantage but look that’s the way it is and we like to finish on top.”
Cork and Galway will go head-to-head in a mouth-watering tie on Saturday 19th August in the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick as part of the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Finals Double-Header with Kilkenny facing Dublin in the other clash.