COURCEY Rovers have it all to do to dethrone reigning champions Seandún in the SE Systems Senior Camogie Championship, but they will relish the challenge.
The champions of the past three years will clash in this quarter-final in Brinny on Sunday (4.45pm), as Courceys won the county senior title in 2020, while Seandún have won back-to-back crowns (2021 and ’22) and are chasing the three-in-a-row.
Courceys head into this last-eight showdown off the back of a 1-11 to 0-12 defeat against Cloughduv last weekend, but they squeezed into the knockout stages as the best third placed team from the group stages.
Their two All-Ireland winning Cork stars, Saoirse McCarthy (0-9, including eight frees) and Fiona Keating (0-1), were to the fore again here, while Anne Marie Collins and Grainne Hannon also got on the scoresheet. It wasn’t enough to stop Courceys slipping to defeat, and Kevin Hannon, a member of the management team, is aware of the challenge they face on Sunday.
‘It’s a massive ask for us, considering we are down eight from last year’s panel and we are facing the county champions of the last two seasons,’ he points out. Among the players not involved this season are the experienced trio of Linda Collins, Jacinta Crowley and Christine O’Neill.
‘At the start of the year our real aim was to remain competitive at senior level. So far we have done that and hope to bring it again to Sunday's match.
‘Seandún are strong in all areas so we definitely will have our work cut out. However we are looking forward to seeing where we are at, and giving the younger players – who are guided by Sara Hayes and Christine O’Neill at underage level – more experience at senior level and hopefully build on it going forward.’
Hannon added: ‘Darragh O’Callaghan and Shirley Moloney have been taking the coaching sessions and along with Joey Gallagher, my fellow selector, a big effort as usual has been made especially by the girls themselves who are great to train.’
As well as All-Star nominees McCarthy and Keating, Cork intermediate Ashling Moloney is one of the leaders in this Courceys, and this trio will need to lead the charge against the Amy O’Connor-inspired Seandún on Sunday.
‘It’s great to have Saoirse and Fiona with the Cork seniors and Ashling with the intermediates; this is a massive boost to the underage section of the club and the parish in general seeing them do so well,’ Hannon added.
‘Where we are we don’t get too many transfers in, but there’s great pride taken by the girls putting on the jersey representing their families and neighbours so we will try to bring this spirit to the table on Sunday.’
This quarter-final also brings together two county stars shortlisted for the PwC GPA Camogie Senior Player of the Year award, with Courceys’ Saoirse McCarthy and Seandún sharpshooter O’Connor both in the running to be crowned the top player of the 2023 inter-county season. O’Connor has carried her county form into the club season and tormented Carbery in the group stage, scoring 3-6 in a 4-14 to 0-10 rout of the West Cork divisional team.
The quarter-finals of the SE Systems Senior Camogie Championship, all on this weekend, are as follows: Sarsfields v Inniscarra, Seandún v Courcey Rovers, St Finbarr's v Cloughduv, Eire Óg v St Catherines. The draw for the semi-finals will be made next Monday night, September 25th.