Cork camogie boss Paudie Murray has received a major boost with the return to training of team captain Amy O'Connor.
Serious concerns were raised about O’Connor’s availability for the upcoming championship clashes against Offaly, Wexford and All-Ireland champions Galway when she suffered concussion over two weeks ago in a club game for St Vincent’s against Tracton.
Due to the extent of her injury, the Cork skipper had to be stretchered off the pitch, and she was immediately rushed to hospital to be treated by medics. But in the interim the ace corner-forward has made encouraging progress and this was amply evidenced when she returned to training with her teammates 10 days ago.
Commenting on O’Connor’s situation, the Rebels’ supremo said: "Since she came back to us, Amy has taken part in three training sessions and they have gone well for her.
"So far her participation in the sessions has been confined to a non-contact environment, and obviously we won’t find out how she is fixed for the championship games until she begins to take part in the contact element of the sessions.
"When she steps up to full participation in the training she might have a setback and, of course, we will be hoping that this doesn’t happen," added Murray on the highly experienced player who has been playing for Cork for six years, and has won four All-Ireland medals in the course of her inter-county career.
However, while Murray is hopeful that he will be able to call on the team captain for his side’s championship campaign, he is less optimistic about the prospects of O’Connor’s fellow four-time All-Ireland winner Laura Treacy, who picked up a hand injury in a recent club game.
"Unfortunately, Laura’s hand is still in a cast and she has to go back to see her consultant in two week’s time," explained the Cork manager on the corner-back who was playing for her club Killeigh against Ballygarvan.
"So it looks like that she will miss some of our championship games".
Adding to Murray’s worries is that O’Connor’s fellow corner-forward Julia White sustained a knee injury in a challenge game against Waterford.
Because so many GAA clubs in Cork are still involved in the local championships, it's not easy to find grounds where we can hold our training sessions
"Julia had to stretchered off the pitch and she will have to undergo a scan, so we’re not sure if she will be available for the championship games," explained Murray, whose side open their campaign with an away tie against Offaly on 17/18 October, which will be followed by a home outing against Wexford on 31 October/1 November, and an away test against Galway on 7/8 November.
An additional problem for the Cork boss is that in recent weeks he has experiencing some difficulty in being able to source suitable locations for his team’s training sessions.
"Because so many GAA clubs in Cork are still involved in the local championships, it’s not easy to find grounds where we can hold our training sessions," he explained.
"But thankfully the problem has been somewhat eased for us due to the fact that the Na Piarsaigh club have been very helpful in accommodating us whenever that is a possibility for them."