ORLA Cronin has a hat-trick of All-Ireland senior medals to her name – but one medal continues to elude her.
The Enniskeane woman (22), along with St Colum’s Libby Coppinger, co-captained the UCC camogie team that came up short in the Ashbourne Cup final, losing 0-15 to 1-9 to UL in Mallow.
Cronin led by example, and was the star of the show for the Cork college, hitting seven points (six from placed balls). But it was not enough to deny UL who completed the three-in-a-row, and all have come at Cronin’s and UCC’s expense.
‘It was very disappointing, I was devastated afterwards, we all were,’ she says.
‘It’s my third year losing the Ashbourne final, to UL each time. We put in a lot of work, and credit to our management who were unbelievable all year. We put in everything so it’s heartbreaking to miss out.’
Trying to bridge a 15-year gap since UCC last won the Ashbourne Cup, the West Cork woman admits that it was her last chance to win this competition with UCC.
‘This is my final year,’ she explains.
‘Over the last few days I’ve been trying to think of what Masters I can come up with!
‘This is my last year and I’m hoping to do PE and biology next year. Hopefully I’ll graduate with a degree in physiology after this year so I’m not too sure where is next for me, Dublin or Limerick.
‘I have seen some great girls leave UCC over the years having gone so close to winning that medal – and we all know what that feels like. It’s disappointing to leave UCC without that medal but that’s not to say you can’t get it somewhere else.’
Cronin, who scored two points in Cork’s league win over Offaly last Saturday, is keen to build on her success in 2017 where she played a huge role in the Rebels’ All-Ireland success.
‘It was a great year last year but I want to top that,’ she says.
‘Little things that I found hard last year, I’ll focus on and try to improve this year. I want to keep developing and there is room for improvement so hopefully there’s more to come.’
Orla, along with her Cork team-mate Libby Coppinger, received a monthly award at the inaugural Carbery GAA Awards at the Westlodge Hotel last Friday night.