Star Cork midfielder Juliet Murphy to play “some part” in TG4 All-Ireland qualifier against Armagh

Experienced midfielder’s availability a major boost to Eamonn Ryan’s squad

Juliet Murphy: back in the Cork squad following her decision to return to the intercounty game

Juliet Murphy: back in the Cork squad following her decision to return to the intercounty game

 

Cork manager Eamonn Ryan has confirmed that Juliet Murphy should “play some part” against Armagh in Saturday’s TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football championship round two qualifier.

Murphy, a seven-time All-Ireland senior medallist, is set to complete a dramatic retirement U-turn by featuring against the Orchard County in Birr.

The inspirational Donoughmore midfielder announced her retirement from club and intercounty football in June but it was confirmed a fortnight ago that she is back.

With the former Footballer of the Year now back in the fold, Ryan reflected: “I thought she still has a lot to offer and I’m sure she has.

“But having been out of the game for a few months, it will take a bit to come back.”

Ryan confirmed that Murphy has “six or seven” training sessions under her belt.

But she hasn’t pulled on the Cork shirt since last year’s All-Ireland final victory and Ryan is concerned by a lack of match practice.

He explained: “She’s an excellent player but you have no idea of the effect of eight-ten months of non-involvement.

“But I’m hoping that she will play some part at the weekend.”

For All-Ireland champions Cork, the qualifiers represent uncharted territory after the Leesiders were foiled in their quest for a tenth successive Munster crown by Kerry last month.

And Ryan admitted: “It’s our first time going through the back door – a new experience and like any new experience, we’re a bit apprehensive.”

Ryan also confirmed that experienced goalkeeper Elaine Harte is back in the squad following her return from Australia.

Armagh, beaten Division Three finalists this year, will provide stiff opposition for Cork. James Daly’s team boasts a number of O’Connor Cup winners and they lost by just a point to Tyrone in the Ulster semi-final.

Armagh’s clash with Cork is the second game of a live TG4 double-header at St Brendan’s Park, Birr.

Laois and Meath meet in an all-Leinster clash at 4.15pm, before All-Ireland champions Cork look to rekindle their campaign at 6pm.

At Pearse Park in Longford, there are also two qualifiers down for decision as Westmeath, winners against Donegal last time out, tackle beaten Connacht finalists Mayo (2pm).

And at 3.45pm, Ulster runners-up Tyrone face a Clare side riding high on confidence following their surprise round 1 victory over Kildare.

FIXTURES – Saturday
Westmeath v Mayo, Pearse Park, Longford, 2pm; Clare v Tyrone, Pearse Park, Longford, 3.45pm; Laois v Meath, St Brendan’s Park, Birr, 4.15pm; Armagh v Cork, St Brendan’s Park, Birr, 6pm.