Westmeath senior hurling coach Adrian O’Sullivan gives his thought on this week’s Liberty Insurance Camogie Championship games.
Senior Group 2 – All Saturday
Cork v Meath
Páirc Ui Rinn 5pm
A daunting task for Ray Gavin’s Meath side as they head to Leeside in search of their first points of the championship.
They will be encouraged by some of their recent performances, pushing Clare all the way and recovering to compete well after being taken apart in the first half by Waterford last weekend.
That said they have very little chance of competing here. Cork have been flawless in the championship so far and Chloe Sigerson and Gemma O’Connor in particular will revel in the space afforded to them at the back by Meaths sweeper system which should ensure a steady supply of ball to the in form Collins, O’Connor and co.
Expect nothing less than a comfortable Cork win here.
Tipperary v Dublin
The Ragg 5pm
On paper this looks like a pretty straightforward game. Niamh Lillis’ in form Tipperary against Frank Brownes struggling Dubs.
Tipperary’s free scoring forward line against Dublin’s faltering sweeper system.
And to be fair that’s how I expect it to go so long as Tipp learn from last weeks mistakes.
To be simultaneously critical and complimentary of the Tipp management, they allowed Clare far too much freedom to impose their sweeper on them in the first half last week but nailed it at half time and took complete control when they reorganized their shape in the second half.
Tipp are set up to take on a sweeper with lots of defenders who are comfortable on the ball and the hard running of Megan Ryan and Ereena Fryday in the middle third will create overlaps needed to put the sharp Tipp forwards in position to pick off the team from the capital.
Tipp to do the business here and book their place in the knockout stages with a game to spare.
Waterford v Clare
Walsh Park 5pm
Waterford can book their place in the knockout stages for the second year in a row with a win here and manager Donal O’Rourke is embracing the hype, encouraging the people of Waterford to get out and see his exciting young team in full flight.
Waterford have been outstanding so far and can rightly count themselves a little unlucky not to be on full points heading into this game. They ruthlessly dispatched Meath last week with a masterclass in goal finishing and will be confident of a win on Saturday.
Clare have been steadily improving. Their defensive system caused problems for Tipp last weekend but ultimately they lacked the firepower inside to make their first half dominance count.
A lot will depend on how Ger O’Connell handles the double threat of Beth Carton and Niamh Rockett. Clare Hehir looks best matched physically to handle her UL teammate Carton but are Clare willing to change their defensive shape to position Hehir on the 40. Should she recover from injury Ciara Grogan has the pace to match Rockett but if not they may not have a marker to shut down the inform attacker.
Waterford have the experience of picking apart Dublin and Meath’s sweeper systems and their constant goal threat will be very hard for Clare to handle.
Senior Group 1 – Sunday
Galway v Limerick
A straight shootout for second place in Athenry as unbeaten Limerick head up the motorway to take on a Galway side who have been idle for a while since defeating Offaly in round 2 due to a bye and a postponement.
Recent form would point to a comfortable Galway victory but the Limerick camp would argue that the league semi-final result wasn’t a fair reflection of their capabilities.
Declan Nash’s young side can now play with the freedom that qualification brings and it will be interesting to see what this new found confidence and swagger will bring. Nash will be hoping that some of his younger forwards in particular can weigh in with scores to supplement the fierce attacking threat of veteran Niamh Mulcahy who tops the championship scoring charts thus far.
Cathal Murray will be hoping he sees the Offaly edition of his side and not the Kilkenny one and his team selection will be intriguing. Ciara Murphy starred against Offaly having not started against Kilkenny in a sign that Galway have real strength in depth at their disposal.
Confidence aside, Athenry is a tough place to take points from and I think it’s a step too far for Limerick.