Four of the Cork ladies football team’s star players will decide their inter-county futures in the coming weeks, according to manager Ephie Fitzgerald.
The All-Ireland champions lost their opening Lidl Division 1 Football League fixture to Armagh on Sunday, fielding without experienced quartet Briege Corkery, Rena Buckley, Bríd Stack and Deirdre O’Reilly.
Fitzgerald confirmed the four are taking an extended break from the game and says he doesn’t know yet know if they will return to defend Cork’s league crown.
“I don’t know to be honest. We’ll have that discussion in the next few weeks but they’re taking a bit of time off, they’re reflecting and we’ll take it from there. I think this is a good chance for us, this is a big learning experience for a lot of our younger girls.”
Fitzgerald accepted the absence of senior figures was a factor in the defeat in Clonmore, but emphasised the importance of giving younger players an opportunity to see league action.
“It’s a factor in terms of their experience and their football brain. But, last week, we put up a very good performance (against Kerry). I think with younger girls as well, you’ve ups and downs, you have peaks and troughs. It’s just (about) trying to strike a balance.
“We’ll take the positives out of it as well. We lost by three points, we battled gamely, things didn’t go our way but I’m sure we’ll learn from it and pick ourselves up for the Dublin game in two weeks.”
In a low-scoring 0-12 to 0-9 reverse, Fitzgerald admitted Cork’s use of possession wasn’t sharp enough to break down Armagh’s defence.
“We knew Armagh would be smarting after their defeat last week to Donegal, so we knew we were in for a tough game. That’s what it proved to be and Armagh were worthywinners.
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