Juliet says Cork can cope with long lay-off

Croke Park tomorrow will not be hosting the only Cork-Donegal clash of the weekend.

At Dr Hyde Park in Roscommon today, the reigning All-Ireland ladies football champions meet the Ulster county in an All-Ireland quarter-final.

While Eamon Ryan’s side may not have to deal with a massed defence like their male counterparts, they will have to cope with not having been truly tested yet, according to midfielder Juliet Murphy.

Cork’s last game was a 3-12 to 2-9 win over Kerry in the Munster final on July 16, and Murphy, winner of the Player of the Year award last year, admits that a lack of sharpness may be a worry.

“If you look back at the Tyrone game in 2010 [when Cork lost their first championship game in six years], it’s a similar situation,” she said.

“We fell into a trap and hadn’t been fully prepared; when you don’t have a championship game you might only be plodding along in training and A versus B games don’t compare.

“Donegal have had two more games than us and we haven’t had a settled team.

“But in saying that our preparations have been meticulous and the lay-off can mean you have a greater hunger when you do get to play.”

The length of journey from Cork to Roscommon, coupled with the 12.30pm throw-in, forced them to travel up to Galway last night. It’s not ideal, but Murphy isn’t complaining.

“Most of us would have played in Hyde Park before,” she said.

“The pitch itself is fine, but it’s the whole journey and the time involved.

“At the same time, it’s out of our hands and our control, so we are just trying to focus on what is within our control.”

Cork are boosted by the return of Angela Walsh, who had been travelling, and Murphy feels the increased competition for places benefits the squad as a whole.

“When you have people fighting for places it pushes everybody on.

“There are girls there now who have developed over the past few years and are now challenging, they make the rest of us pull our socks up.”

The second game at Hyde Park pits Donegal’s Ulster conquerors, Monaghan, against Mayo, with a 2.15pm throw-in.

Ciara McAnespie, Caoimhe Mohan and Niamh Kindlon are all likely to feature in attack for last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists, but they are not likely to have things their own way.

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