BY DENIS HURLEY
LAST weekend, a book charting the Gaelic games exploits in Kinsale since 1886 was launched.
It was a very enjoyable occasion in the MacDonald Hotel
(www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/our-hotels/macdonald-kinsale-hotel-spa/), but a second edition – or a sequel – may need to published soon, if the club’s ladies’ football team have anything to do with it.
On Saturday, Kinsale will look to cap a wonderful year when they take on Dublin’s St Maur’s in the All-Ireland junior club final in Carlow’s Dr Cullen Park (1pm), and star forward Orla Finn is keen for the team to add to the history.
‘This can be the start of the next 130 years!
‘It’s great that the club is going from strength to strength, it’s a brilliant thing to see.’
In 2015, Kinsale reached the county junior final, losing to Bantry Blues. Defeat was educational though, while the fact that Bantry went on to win the Munster title showed what could be achieved.
‘We learned a lot from that defeat and it stood to us,’ Finn says.
‘I don’t think we felt any extra pressure this year. We just took every match as it came and we were doing well as we went on, that made us more confident.
‘We have a lot of young players on the team and the more games they play, the more we’re gelling as a team and they’re becoming more experienced.
‘There was no pressure on us really, unless the girls put it on themselves, which I doubt they did. ‘Our sights were set on reaching the county final and hopefully winning it and going up intermediate. I don’t think any of us really expected to go this far but then we got to the first round of the Munster championship and we were flying it.
‘From then on, we felt that if we could keep up that level of performance, we could definitely get to an All-Ireland final.’
Youthful enthusiasm has been key to the run through county and then provincial glory, as Finn outlines.
‘I’m the third-oldest on the panel and I’m only 24, so it’s a very young team,’ she says.
‘We have a good few girls playing inter-county, minor or U16 or U14. Even the players that aren’t inter-county are really pushing to be at that level, everyone has really stepped up this year.
‘We always had success underage, but then it came to the stage where a lot of girls started giving up when I was around 16 or 17. ‘The junior club was quite weak around that time but, as the younger girls have started coming up, it has become stronger.’
In the 3-15 to 2-9 win over Mayo’s Kilmoremoy in the All-Ireland semi-final, Finn scored 1-9 but Cork minor star Sadhbh O’Leary notched 1-2, showing that opponents can’t just try to shut down the 2016 All-Star.
‘We’ve such a high level of talent in our team,’ Finn says, ‘if they try to mark one of us out of the game, there are more players who can do damage.
‘I don’t feel any extra pressure to perform, we’re just enjoying every single match and we’re just looking to finish it off now.’