Niamh Cotter hails local talent after joining squad
BY KIERAN McCARTHY
NIAMH Cotter was on the receiving end of a West Cork onslaught last season – but this year she’s keen to power the divisional side to county success.
Cork senior Cotter lined out in midfield for Beara in last year’s county championship quarter-final against West Cork in Dunmanway, a tie the west won convincingly by 4-14 to 1-7.
Since then Beara have dropped down to intermediate ranks, freeing up Cotter and Áine O’Sullivan, another Rebel star, to line out with West Cork this season.
‘We (Beara) dropped down from senior to intermediate this year,’ Cotter (20) explained.
‘There are a lot of girls away with work, some have other commitments and we are struggling for numbers. In a place like Beara it’s hard to hold down a senior team because a lot of people under 30 from Beara are living away from home, either living or working.
‘It’s very difficult to maintain a senior team so the decision was made to drop down to intermediate this season.’
Beara’s first game in the intermediate championship is against Boherbue on July 1st, and by then Cotter will have featured for West Cork in their opening senior county championship group game on June 29th in Kinsale (7.45pm) against champions Mourneabbey.
So, having seen how good West Cork were last year from their county quarter-final, Cotter is keen to help the division build on the progress they made last season.
‘We were blown away by West Cork, to be honest,’ Cotter said.
‘We knew that they’d be good but we didn’t realise they’d be as good as they are. The talent on the team is incredible.
‘It’s the best players from so many clubs united on the pitch together and they were very impressive last year. It’s great to be part of it this year.
‘A lot of people say that divisional teams don’t work but I don’t agree with that at all. I think they do work. And West Cork showed that last year.
‘When you see the talent that’s there, it’s incredible. And the more talented the players the quicker and the easier they adapt to playing with other players.
‘Even in the challenge games so far we are getting better as it goes on because we are playing with each more.’
Highlighting the potential of West Cork as ‘frightening’, the Glengarriff woman, a student at UCC, is targeting a winning start to the championship campaign against Mourneabbey next Thursday night.
‘It’s not the easiest of first round games but it’s a good thing to get thrown in at the deep end. We’ll know where we stand after the game,’ Cotter said.
‘Every team has the ambition of winning a county. And we’re no different.
‘Mourneabbey is the first test for us, it’s all about stepping stones, trying to build on each performance.
‘We’ve had a good few challenge games, we’re trying to keep the momentum going, trying to learn how each player plays and get to know each other better.
‘There’s a lot of talent coming up through the ranks in West Cork and it’s a special time to be part of this set-up.’