Bantry Blues

Founded 1887

Co. Cork

Best of luck to Ruairi Deane & @OfficialCorkGAA in @officialgaa All Ireland Series , when they take on @louthgaa tomorrow in Navan.

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Best of luck to Ruairi Deane & @OfficialCorkGAA Senior Footballers in @officialgaa All Ireland Series Group Stages (Round 1) , when they take on @louthgaa tomorrow in Navan.


Cork v Louth in Pairc Tailteann Navan on Saturday at 3pm

It is all of 7 weeks since Cork last played a competitive match - the Munster semi-final loss to Clare; by contrast Louth were only beaten by Dublin 2 weeks ago.

The other difference is that Cork lost narrowly, while Louth were hammered in the Leinster Final, and have they had sufficient time to recover?

It is fair to say that very few expected them to beat Dublin, but the scale of the defeat might impact their confidence, but getting to a Leinster Final is a fair achievement for a county the size of Louth and of course they comfortably retained their place in Division 2 of the league.

Factor in they have already beaten Cork in the league in the tight confines of Ardee.

Cork’s loss to Clare will have dented them and in the process denied them getting 2 more championship games into the squad - they would have been favoured to beat Limerick in a semi-final in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

How they respond to that setback and how they used the long gap could also shape the contest.

On hearing the draw Manager John Cleary said: “It is the one thing we have no control over; we just have to prepare as best we can and we have been working hard since the Clare game and we will be ready.”

John also confirmed that Brian Hurley will be back: “He is training hard and his presence is a huge boost, he’s a quality forward and we missed him for the latter part of the league and of course the championship match.”

Other than that, they are injury free and John is happy with the preparation. “Obviously we were very disappointed to lose to Clare, but in fairness to the lads, they put it behind them quickly and were back training the following week and have all applied themselves brilliantly since then.”

As for Louth, John knows what to expect. “We played and lost to them in the league, we know how they will set up and we have to counteract that, and to be fair they have had a good run in the championship, apart from the final and that will help them.”

The venue this time is different and John says it’s not an issue. “We have played there before, it’s a nice pitch, a bit bigger then Ardee, where we played in the league, so we have no issue with that.”

Going back to that league game, Cork were going well, missed a goal chance when 4 points in front, then Louth were awarded, in my view a soft penalty and the direction of the contest changed.

Cork played the 2nd half with 14 players after Daniel O’Mahoney was sent-off just before half-time.

Both sides were missing key players on the day - Brian Hurley and Sam Mulroy - they will be playing on Saturday.

It’s the game that many believe the winners of will get the preliminary quarter-final spot, especially with Mayo and Kerry as the other teams in the group this could very well be seen as a knockout game.

Cork’s starting 15 might not differ a whole lot from the Clare game, with the exception of Hurley starting.

Micheál Aodh Martin will be fronted by among others Kevin O’Donovan, Rory Maguire and Mattie Taylor who also missed the game in Ardee - the Mallow man offers a realistic scoring threat going forward.

Ian Maguire and Colm O’Callaghan should anchor midfield, while assisting Hurley in attack you will have Steven Sherock, Ruairi Deane and the effective Sean Powter.

No doubt the astute manager that is Mickey Harte will have planned well for the threat the Cork attack will pose, as his own attack is limited in its scoring prowess.

A huge game for both counties, but Cork will have learned from the loss in the league and to Clare and you would hope that the addition of Brian Hurley gives them an edge to get over the line, and set it up nicely for the visit of Kerry to Páirc Uí Chaoimh a week later

game is live on C103.

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