At last count, Paudie Murray’s backroom team numbered 16. That’s a fair number of lieutenants to have in your corner. Then again, it’s a fair operation he’s running.
Murray is this Sunday seeking to join JJ Doyle (2011) and Tony Ward (2013) as the third manager to guide his native county to All-Ireland intermediate and senior camogie titles on the one afternoon. And as you’d expect with bringing two squads to Croke Park for two fixtures that finish and start within 45 minutes of each other, there’s been no little planning and no amount of work involved.
Both panels will travel to Dublin by train on Saturday evening, but separate buses will ferry them to Croke Park at different times on Sunday. Murray and senior lieutenant Sean Cremin will be present on the sideline for the start of the intermediate decider at 2pm. Murray’s brother, Kevin, will also be there.
The intermediate management is completed by Brian Barry, Mike Carroll, Terence O’Leary, Mossie O’Sullivan, and Edward Newman.
That’s eight in total; five will patrol the sideline, three will provide an eye in the sky from the Hogan Stand.
As the intermediates do battle with Kilkenny for a first intermediate crown since 2006, the remaining nine members of this management docket will ready the senior team for their three-in-a-row bid. Murray, it is envisaged, will have disappeared under the Hogan Stand to join the senior set-up before the end of the intermediate game.
His brother Kevin will assume the bainisteoir’s bib in his absence, a plan of action that was first trialled in the second Sunday of March.
The Cork seniors were in Piltown for a Division 1 clash against Kilkenny while the intermediates entertained Westmeath at Castle Road.
They did it again on July 9; Paudie took the seniors to Wexford Park, Kevin overseeing the intermediates in Trim.
“You have to have a focus. We have been planning since the start of the year of having both teams in Croke Park,” says Murray, who has performed an impressive U-turn in the fortunes of the senior team given his first two campaigns at the helm ended in disappointment.
“If you think you are only going to get to a semi-final, that is all that will happen. You have to aim high.
“I was disappointed the intermediates didn’t get to the final last year. We lost to Kildare in Nowlan Park in the semi-final and I think a lot of our players played the occasion rather than the game. Hopefully, it was a good lesson for them.
“Were we ready for it last year? Possibly not. I think it was a good thing that we got that year extra. I don’t think we’d have won the All-Ireland intermediate championship last year and if we had got to the All-Ireland final against Waterford, it may have disrupted the seniors on the day. This year, we are ready.”
And the biggest factor? “The most important thing is getting the balance right between the panels on the week leading into the match. We train in two different pods. “Some days I am talking to the seniors and not the intermediates. Other days, it is reversed. Trying to get that balance is hard. That is why I have the lads I have.”
The seniors also face Kilkenny, a team they’ve inflicted a fair amount of pain on going back the years. There was last year’s All-Ireland semi-final, the 2014 final and the 2009 final.
“If you look at both semi-finals, you would have to say they were the most impressive. It is a fascinating match-up. You have a team going for three-in-a-row which carries its own pressures and you have the opposition who have the pressure of having lost their last six All-Ireland final appearances, three of those against Cork (2014, 2009 and 1995). It will be interesting to see which team will react to that pressure best.”
Cork: The backroom team
Matthew Twomey (free-taker coach and assistant manager)
Niall Collins (assistant manager and statistician/video analyst)
Jamie Harrington (coach)
Dr. Wesley O’Brien (coach)
Adam McCarthy (S&C)
Sean Cremin (coach)
Niall McCarthy (coach)
Teddy O’Donovan (goalkeeping coach)
Damien Murray (logistics)
George Fitzgibbon (goalkeeping coach)
Kevin Murray (intermediate assistant manager)
Brian Barry (intermediate selector)
Mike Carroll (intermediate selector)
Terence O’Leary (intermediate selector)
Mossie O’Sullivan (intermediate selector)
Edward Newman (intermediate selector)
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