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Dublin: 6 °C Tuesday 20 November, 2018
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Cork v Wexford All-Ireland Camogie Final match guide

Can Wexford make it a three-in-a-row or will Cork win back the O’Duffy Cup for the first time since 2009?

Wexford's Karen Atkinson with Cork's Julia White
Wexford's Karen Atkinson with Cork's Julia White
Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Sunday, Croke Park, 4pm (Referee: Alan Lagrue, Kildare)

Latest from the medics and management…After an impressive second-half display in the semi-final, Anna Geary wins back her place at centre-forward and is the only change to the Cork side that beat Galway last month other than a switch-up among the forwards which sees young Katie Buckley wear the number 14 jersey and Bríege Corkery move out to half forward.

CORK SC: 1. Aoife Murray (Cloughduv); 2. Jenny Duffy (St. Finbarr’s); 3. Rena Buckley (Inniscarra); 4. Joanne O’Callaghan (Cloughduv); 5. Eimear O’Sullivan (Ballinhassig);  6. Gemma O’Connor (St. Finbarr’s); 7. Pamela Mackey (Douglas); 8. Jenny O’Leary (Barryroe); 9. Orla Cotter (St. Catherine’s); 10. Joanne Casey (Inniscarra); 11. Anna Geary (Milford); 12. Bríege Corkery (Cloughduv); 13. Katríona Mackey (Douglas); 14. Katie Buckley (Mallow); 15. Síle Burns (Rockbán).

Wexford are keeping their cards close to their chests and have decided not to name their team until tomorrow morning. We’ll bring you the line-out as soon as we have it. {Update}

WEXFORD SC: 1. Mags Darcy (St. Martins); 2. Claire O’Connor (Rathnure); 3. Catherine O’Loughlin (Monageer Boolavogue); 4. Karen Atkinson (Oulart the Ballagh); 5. Noleen Lambert (St Martins); 6. Mary Leacy (Oulart the Ballagh); 7. Deirdre Codd (Duffry Rovers); 8. Lisa Bolger (St Martins); 9. Kate Kelly (St Ibars Shelmaliers); 10. Michelle O’Leary (Rathnure); 11. Una Leacy (Oulart the Ballagh); 12. Josie Dwyer (Ferns St Aidans); 13. Fiona Rochford (St Annes); 14. Katrina Parrock (St Ibars Shelmaliers); 15. Ursula Jacob (Oulart the Ballagh)

Checking the odds…Paddy Power has gone with Wexford all the way with odds of 4/7. Cork are available at 15/8, while a draw is 15/2. With three goals between them in the semi-final, Wexford’s Ursula Jacob and Katrina Parrock are 13/2 to be the first goalscorer, along with Cork’s Bríege Corkery.

Clues from the form guide…This is the third time since 2007 that a team will be going for the three-in-row – a feat not achieved since Tipperary’s victory in 2001. Back in 2007, Wexford stopped Cork’s run, while in 2010, the Rebels failed to reach Croke Park as they bid for the elusive three. The in-form team, Wexford look like favourites to do it this year but the Leeside ladies won’t be rolling over and allowing it to happen. They put in a massive performance against a strong Galway side last month to run out 3-10 to 0-12 winners, a scoreline which didn’t reflect the tight affair. On the other side of the draw, Wexford didn’t have to break a sweat to see off an inexperienced Offaly side 3-14 to 0-5.

Cork will take much from that semi-final with six names on the scoreboard and impressive displays from their midfielders. Wexford’s forwards will also be brimming with confidence after their haul against Offaly but an injury to the prolific Una Leacy could prove a major setback.

The game breakers are…There will be two massive battles involving the Leacy sisters. At centreback for Wexford, Mary Leacy will face Anna Geary – both hugely experienced players with multiple All-Stars, used to the big day in Croke Park – and whoever comes out on top could be the gamechanger for their team. At the other end, Mary’s sister Una will come up against Gemma O’Connor. Wexford will be hoping that the younger of the Leacy sisters will have fully overcome that aforementioned knee injury picked up in the semi-final to see her name on the team-sheet (and score-sheet), as well as continue her role as playmaker for both Parrock and Jacob.

Both teams also have scoring midfielders and the players of the semi-finals – Jenny O’Leary (Cork) and Kate Kelly (Wexford) – were both from the centre of the park. If Wexford give away soft frees, they can be sure O’Leary will also punish with her accurate free-taking. At the other end, Cork will require a lot from the ever-present Rena Buckley at full-back and goalkeeper Aoife Murray as Wexford’s attack is probably the stronger of the two teams with Leacy, Parrock and Jacob particularly fond of the back of the net.

Gazing into the crystal ball…The majority of the thirty players taking the field on Sunday have vast experience playing at this level and the prize for both teams is huge – a three-in-a-row for Wexford to seal their crown as the best in the business or a revival for the Cork girls who have been starved of success since 2009. It might just be that hunger that will carry them up the steps to collect the O’Duffy Cup for the sixth time since 2001.

I’m going to look back to earlier in this year to back up my prediction. In May at Semple Stadium, Cork pipped Wexford by two points (1-08 to 0-09) in the league final to put down their marker for the year. To repeat that performance though, they’ll have to keep Wexford goalless once more.

Verdict…Cork

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