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'We had no leaders' -- Anne-Marie Walsh warns against complacency in Cork ranks

The Leesiders lost out to Kerry last time out.

Image: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

CORK CAPTAIN Anne-Marie Walsh is demanding a response from the TG4 Munster and All-Ireland ladies football champions following last Sunday’s shock defeat to Kerry in Caherciveen.

The Kingdom won by two points as Cork suffered a first championship defeat since losing the 2010 All-Ireland quarter-final against Tyrone.

Cork have lost Juliet Murphy and Laura McMahon to retirement but Walsh suspects that complacency may have been a factor last weekend.

And she is anticipating a marked improvement in performance levels when Cork visit Shannon this evening for a must-win clash with hosts Clare.

But Walsh warned: “I just hope the players aren’t getting complacent and waiting for somebody else to do the job for them. We had no leaders on the field last Sunday. Kerry were the better team and had more hunger for the game.”

Tesco Homegrown National League winning captain Walsh revealed that Cork dissected last Sunday’s display to identify where things went wrong.

And the Inch Rovers defender added: “The U21 championship hit us at the wrong time – we had nine involved in that and another seven doing the Leaving Cert. That’s 16 out of the squad and at training we had small numbers. But they are excuses at the end of the day. We just seemed to be not with it, not in the right frame of mind, just going through the motions.

“I’m hoping it can turn itself around and Clare is a must-win. At least we have another chance to get back to the Munster final.”

First-choice goalkeeper Elaine Harte is away travelling for a few weeks and therefore unavailable for selection, with Martina O’Brien and Lisa Crowley battling it out for the number one shirt.

In Leinster, meanwhile, Dublin begin the defence of their provincial crown with a semi-final against Kildare at Naomh Mearnóg on Saturdayafternoon. Denise McKenna is out injured but Dublin boss Paul Gilheaney has the rest of his players available for selection.

He said: “It’s been a long break since the League but everyone is itching for it at this stage. And the break has allowed a number of injuries to clear up while we had four girls sitting the Leaving Cert.

“I genuinely believe this will go down to the wire. Kildare have (former Galway player) John Divilly in charge and they beat Cork in a challenge a few weeks ago. Dublin beat Kildare by seven points in last year’s semi-final but I expect this one to be close.”

In Sunday’s second Leinster semi-final, Meath have home advantage against Laois in a repeat of the 2011 provincial final between the counties.

Meath scored a six-point victory in Summerhill against Westmeath last weekend and joint-manager Lar Wall admitted: “In reality we didn’t know where we were after the League. It left us unsure about where we stood but we finished the League strong enough and we did prepare well for last Sunday.”

Meath were relegated from Division 1 this year and Wall concedes that facing Laois represents a step-up in class.

He said: “No question. Laois would be at a different level to Westmeath. Laois have a lot of seasoned players and got themselves together this year. Even though they were a bit hit and miss in the League, they have a few serious players that will do damage if they’re allowed.”

Fixtures:

TG4 Munster Ladies SFC

Friday June 27: Clare v Cork – Shannon (7.30)

TG4 Leinster Ladies SFC semi-finals:

Saturday June 28: Dublin v Kildare – Naomh Mearnóg (2.00).

Sunday June 29: Meath v Laois – Summerhill GAA club (2.00)

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About the author:

Jackie Cahill

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