Ashling Thompson opts out of Cork camogie panel for 2019

Four-time All-Ireland winner Ashling Thompson is no longer part of the Cork camogie panel, manager Paudie Murray has confirmed.

The 2015 All-Ireland winning captain, a first-team regular throughout this year’s league, departed the Cork set-up at the beginning of their Munster championship campaign in late April and Murray is unsure if the two-time All-Star will be seen in a red shirt this summer.

Cork begin their three-in-a-row All-Ireland bid, a feat last achieved by the county back in 1973, away to Clare this Saturday (Sixmilebridge, 5pm).

“Ashling is not with us at the moment. We would hope that she would be back playing, but the likelihood is that she will not be with us this year,” Murray told the Irish Examiner.

At last week’s camogie championship launch, Association president Kathleen Woods said “Árd Comhairle are not afraid of change”, in response to growing calls from players to modernise the rulebook.

A rules review group has been established and there was the passing of a motion at Congress to allow for the introduction of trial rules, but Murray doesn’t believe substantial change will materialise anytime soon.

Murray said: “The way I see things at the moment, there are people within the association doing their level best to change things.

"I still think you have people there, however, who are against that, who would be very much blaming the managers for coming up with new ideas, and who, I think, would like to go back to the day when the skort was below the knee."

"Am I optimistic things will change in the near future? I’m not, at the moment, because I haven’t seen enough to suggest it will change.”

The four-time All-Ireland winning manager has identified league champions Galway as favourites for this year’s O’Duffy Cup.

He said: “We’re third-choice at the moment, in my eyes, to win the All-Ireland. I’m basing this on the league and all the data that our performance analyst Niall Collins has produced for me.

"I don’t think our work-rate was where it should have been during the league. Our ball retention and ball delivery were not where they should have been. We have ground to make up on Kilkenny and Galway.

"Obviously, if Ashling Thompson is missing, that is a major advantage to those two teams. Can we make up the ground on the opposition? We’ve done it in the past.”

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