IT’S a decision that has worked out well for Joseph Collins.
Not long after playing in the 2015 West Cork JAFC final defeat to Bandon, he decided he needed a new experience so he moved to Toronto on a two-year visa.
The summer was lovely, the winter was cold, he liked the Canadian lifestyle.
But there was something pulling him home.
Collins kept up-to-date with Kilmacabea’s progress in last year’s West Cork JAFC as they went to the last four; they were beaten by the eventual winners, Gabriel Rangers.
He flew home in September 2016, planning to stick around for a few months and head back to Toronto after Christmas.
His plans changed.
‘Football was a big part of me sticking around, alright,’ Collins said,
‘It wasn’t a hard decision.
‘Two years ago we lost the final to Bandon who went on and won the county. Last season the lads lost to Gabriels in the semi-final and they went on and won the county too, so we all knew that we were close.
‘The plan was to go back over in the new year but we started back training on November 4th. When that started taking over and I saw a couple of more lads come back – like Ciarán, Timmy and Micheál – I stuck it out with the dream of winning a West Cork.
‘It’s paid off, we’ve won the West Cork and I don’t think we are finished yet.
‘I made the right decision.’
Collins and Kilmacabea are in county semi-final action this Saturday afternoon (4.30pm) in Brinny where they play Erin’s Own, the winner of Wednesday night’s quarter-final against Kilmurry.
Discovering the identity of their opposition just three days before a county semi-final is not an issue, says Collins.
‘It’s not because we are treating it like any other game,’ he explained.
‘It could be any team that we are playing on Saturday, it doesn’t make a difference. As long as we perform on the day, I think we’ll get the result.’
Winning the West Cork JAFC title for the very first time was a huge weight off Kilmacabea’s shoulders but Collins insists that they are not content with that, they want to win the county title now.
‘Winning a West Cork is massive and you saw how long it took us to win that, to get into the county. And since we are here now we want to capitalise on it, win a county and get up to intermediate grade for next year,’ he said, with the West Cork success parked for now.
‘We all dreamt about winning the West Cork for many, many years – but it took until the Tuesday after that before we started dreaming of winning a county.
‘We all got together that Tuesday, we had a discussion, we parked the West Cork final, the cup went away, we knuckled down and we all said we want to win the county.
‘I know our first game against Kilworth might have been a bit shaky but the preparation wasn’t great. We weren’t great that day but we dug deep and got over the line.
‘Against White’s Cross we played our best football of the year in the first 25 minutes, and it’s great to say that at this time of the year. We’re fully firing now.’
Collins is also keen to play his part in the Kilmac’s county run, having had to sit out the West Cork final against Kilbrittain through suspension.
‘It wasn’t nice at all, missing out,’ he admitted.
‘It was my own fault, really. I can’t have any complaints.
‘I’d have done anything to play in it, it was desperate hard to watch it.
‘Look, the end result was what mattered, not whether I was playing or not, and we have the cup after a long, long struggle.’
Joseph (25) lines up in the Kilmacabea midfield alongside his younger brother Martin (21) and they’re combining well.
‘We slot in nicely beside each other,’ he said.
‘Martin’s very strong on the ground and a good runner, both of us are handy in the air, our styles do compliment each other.’
Kilmac supporters will be hoping that the Collins’ brothers lord the skies and the ground in Brinny this Saturday with a place in a county final up for grabs.
Whatever happens, Joseph made the right decision to stick around.