Over the last five weeks there has been no intercounty games, for eight sides the league final was the last competitive game as a team. On the weekend of the 21st & 22nd May the inter provincial tournament took place in Athlone.
With weather conditions dreadful and intensive competition it culminated in a penalty shoot out to decide of the winners. It was Munster that finally came out victors, and with Valerie Mulchay as captain and Breige Corkery being named player of the tournament, it was indeed a good weekend for Munster.
Focus has now shifted from the league to the championship.Training has been intense and focused over the last few weeks, with all the panel fighting for a starting position in the championship team. Although the league was very successful for us as a panel, there were also individual successes, with Deidre O Reilly receiving 96 and 103 Fm Sports Person of Month award, Valerie Mulchay winning the Evening Echo, Rochestown Park Sports Woman of the Month, and Amy O Shea receiving Lucazode Sport and Irish independent Month award. But none of these accolades have affected the hunger that exists within these players or indeed within the panel.
It has been five weeks since the last intensive match.Often with such a long lay off from matches there can be two outcomes. Teams overtrain and therefore become tired and burnt out or training not been intense enough and therefore teams become rusty and laziness becomes an issue. Over the last three weeks intensity at training has raised another 2 or 3 levels with everyone focusing on the Clare game, and getting a performance out of the team. We will see on Wednesday if we have been successful in keeping training intensity up to match speed.
Clare also had a successful league campaign winning division 3 and gaining promotion to Division 2. Clare will certainly be looking to put their stamp on the Munster championship. They have a very young panel and played a vital part in Munsters win in the interprovincial tournament. Clare coach Dave O Brien won the Bord Gais Manager of the Month for May and was also part of the Munster management team. He will certainly be looking to win the first round of championship, to back up the overall success of the team.
The winning team on Wednesday 22nd will play in the Munster Final on 9th July against either Tipperary or Kerry. On a personal level I would be hoping to lead Cork out on the 9th of July in the Munster Final.