By Daragh Ó Conchúir
Cork 0-8 Westmeath 1-4: Paudie Murray was pleased that his new-look Cork team managed to win the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League Division 2 Final for the second consecutive year but will be looking for significant improvement when they bid for Championship glory.
The Rebels manager added another national title to his packed CV and gave another indication of the high standards that have contributed to the success when offering his analysis of the game.
“Overall, I’m probably disappointed with the display” said Murray.
“In saying that, we knew Westmeath would make life very difficult for us. They’re a big, physical team playing with a lot of desire so a lot of credit has to be given to them.
“A positive is that we conceded nothing from play but some of our use of the ball going forward by our defenders worried me as we go into the Championship. We had 21 attacks in the first half but only had four points from it, which would be disappointing.”
It is a steep learning curve however, as the squad is very different from that which took the honours 12 months ago.
“The way we looked at the League this year, we changed our team completely. We brought in a lot of last year’s Minor team and I think they have done well. I hope that five or six of the Minor team that won the All-Ireland last year will come into it as well.
“Along with that you have the likes of Maeve McCarthy, Finola Neville, Caitríona Collins and Niamh O’Keeffe that were missing as well.
“I think that’s the important thing from this campaign. I think we have about 10 new players who didn’t play in last year’s League Final, the likes of Kate McCarthy, Siobhán Hutchinson, Kate Wall, Rachel O’Shea, Aoife Kavanagh. You’re looking for a bit of strength of depth coming into the Championship.”
Cork led by 0-4 to 0-1 at half time and moved five clear thanks to points from Caroline Sugrue, Keeva McCarthy, Kate Wall and Katelyn Hickey, with Pamela Greville landing a couple of points for Westmeath.
Greville goaled from a 20m free in the 24th minute to give her side hope and followed up immediately with a point but Cork defended resolutely to hold out for a deserved victory.
SCORERS FOR CORK: C Sugrue, K Hickey, K McCarthy (1 45) 0-2 each; R O’Shea (f), K Hickey, K Wall 0-1 each
SCORERS FOR WESTMEATH: P Greville 1-4(fs)
CORK: A Lee, L Weste, S Harrington, N O’Callaghan, S Hutchinson, J Barry, Katie McCarthy, L Callanan, S Buckley, R O’Shea, K Hickey, A Kavanagh, Keeva McCarthy, R O’Callaghan, C Sugrue. Subs: K Wall for McCarthy (44), R Keane for Sugrue (60)
WESTMEATH: F Keating, S King, A Higgins, L Doherty, A Cully, F Leavy, Sandra McGrath, C McCrossan, M Scally, M McCormack, D McGrath, M Dowdall, M Scally, P Greville, Sheila McGrath. Sub: H Core for McCrossan (31)
REFEREE: J McDonagh (Galway)