Allianz Football League Division 3 leaders Cork host Louth in Round 6 at Páirc Uí Chaoimh at 4pm on Saturday, with the game televised live on GAAGO.
Speaking ahead of the game, from which a point should guarantee the Leesiders promotion next season, Cork manager Ronan McCarthy is relieved League action is returning.
“I am very thankful,” he admits, “as I had accepted at one point that the league wouldn’t be finished. To get the opportunity (to finish it) is welcome.”
Cork, who are five wins from five in this season’s Allianz Football League, may not see the benefit of a possible promotion next season McCarthy feels.
“Even if we get promotion, the league might be restructured (due to Covid-19). The emphasis next year might be on reducing the amount of travel teams will do.”
Will the Allianz League be completed?
Discussing whether he believes the League will even be finished this season, the Douglas clubman says:
“A lot of it is luck. It the close contacts that are your real issue. Am I confident (the League will be completed)? I wouldn’t say I’m confident. By following all the procedures that are there in relation to the prevention of Covid, it gives ourselves the best chance of not running into that kind of difficulty.”
‘The Big Game’
Despite this weekend’s game, and a trip away to Longford in Round 7 on Sunday, 25th October, ‘the big game’ is on the minds of the Cork management team.
The ‘big game’ is of course the clash with traditional rivals Kerry in the Munster Championship on 8th November.
“You’re in a difficult scenario at the moment”, the secondary school principal explains. “Normally you would say to players ‘you focus on the next game and that should be your only focus’. There’s no question here that we also need to have an eye further down the road to the match on the 8th November.”
“So what I would say is our priority is that match in four weeks and that is our number one focus”, he says forcibly. “We have to try and make sure that while focusing on that we don’t take our eye off the ball for the other games. The Louth match guarantees us promotion if we get a point from it.”
“It’s a difficult one for a management team. There’s only one show in town and that’s the Kerry game on the 8th of November. We still have a job to do (before that). To me the next two weeks is about getting the job done. We’ll look for the big performance then in the big match on the 8th of November.”
The Rebels will have a number of players missing from their squad in the coming weeks. Injuries mean Liam O’Donovan, Tomás Clancy, Kevin Crowley and Ciarán Sheehan are unavailable for varying periods of time.
“Liam O’Donovan is out long term”, McCarthy explains. “With Tomás Clancy from Fermoy (it) looks like Christmas before he’s back. He was stretchered off in a club championship game with Fermoy. He has a nasty calf tear and some Achilles damage. He had no chance once the extent of the injury was seen.”
“Kevin Crowley’s shoulder took a knock in a club challenge game. He’s had issues with his shoulder previously, so he’ll need a procedure on that. That will rule him out in the short term for us.”
“Ciarán Sheehan had a minor procedure on his knee last week. He’ll have no part to play in League or Championship for us this year. You get to a point where you’re only training bits and pieces and somewhere you have to make a call on it. We made the call, and you’re looking at 4-6 weeks but it ties up an ongoing issue.”
In spite of Cork’s injury list, the Rebels, who sit top of Division 3 on 10 points, should have enough firepower to overcome Louth this weekend. The ‘Wee County’ are bottom of the table having lost all their games so far.