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'She's been a stalwart of Cork camogie over the years. She's certainly a huge loss for us'

Cork must prepare for the All-Ireland senior final without nine-time All-Star Gemma O’Connor, who will miss out through injury.

O'Connor in action against Galway in this year's All-Ireland semi-final.
O'Connor in action against Galway in this year's All-Ireland semi-final.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

CORK ARE PREPARING for their All-Ireland senior camogie final showdown against Kilkenny on Sunday week without nine-time All-Star defender Gemma O’Connor.

A true leader at centre half-back, O’Connor limped off in the 46th minute of their semi-final win over Galway after damaging ligaments in her knee. Before that game, she had also been struggling with an ankle injury.

Cork manager Paudie Murray has told the Evening Echo that she won’t make it back for the Croke Park decider on 10 September.

“We have to accept Gemma won’t be able to play,” he said. “It has taken from the buzz for us a bit because Gemma is one of the greatest camogie players of all-time.

“She’s a key member of our team and would be for any county, but we’ve explained to the rest of the players we have to push forward now.”

Cork captain Rena Buckley echoed his words at a media day ahead of the finals earlier, saying that she’ll be a big miss.

“Hugely,” she told The42. “Gemma’s been a huge player for us down through the years. She’s been an excellent player for Cork.

Gemma O'Connor and Orla Cotter O'Connor and Orla Cotter with the O'Duffy Cup in 2015. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“She’s been a stalwart of Cork camogie over the last number of years. It’s very disappointing for Gemma not to be there. She’s certainly a loss for us.

“We’ve kind of known since the semi-final that she’s been in trouble so it won’t come as a shock to us on the day or anything like that.

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“We’ll just have to get ourselves up and dust ourselves off and give it a go.”

The Rebels feature in the All-Ireland senior final for the fourth consecutive year and will be hoping to win the O’Duffy Cup back from the Cats — after Ann Downey’s side ended a 22-year wait for the crown last year.

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