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‘My midfield partner at U12, Niall Kelleher, ran the show'

October 3rd, 2017 8:00 AM

By Southern Star Team

Pride of the west: Enniskeane's Orla Cronin won the player of the match award in the recent Liberty Insurance senior camogie championship final against Kilkenny in Croke Park.

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It’s been a busy few weeks for Cork camogie star Orla Cronin, named player of the match in the All-Ireland senior final win. Pausing for a moment we caught up with the Enniskeane ace

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Kieran McCarthy (KMC): Three All-Irelands in four seasons, and you’re still 21, can you get your head around that? 

Orla Cronin (OC): It’s crazy alright. I’ve been very lucky. The first two years were almost like a dream because I almost knew nothing other than success with Cork. After losing the 2016 final, you remember that you need to appreciate the good days as they can be taken from you far too easily. So winning this September again was the sweetest feeling. 

KMC: Apart from meeting Marty Morrissey at the after-match function, what was the highlight of the celebrations?

OC: The week was just a constant high but Inniscarra on the Monday night was a great laugh. There was almost as big a homecoming down there as there was on the Mall. You can never beat a session out in the country, Ballyanly and The Wayside Inn exceeded all expectations!

KMC: Sticking with Marty for a moment, he’s well-groomed at the worst of times – but which of you Cork team-mate’s fashion sense leaves a lot to be desired?

OC: Hannah Looney’s, nothing short of floral and printed pieces. She’s even admitted she could set up her own fashion line called Not Real Clothing!

KMC: You roomed with Meabh Cahalane the night before the All-Ireland, what did you do to stay relaxed? 

OC: It’s easy to stay relaxed around Meabh, she’s the most lax person you could meet! But in a good way. I suppose the two of us wouldn’t be great for being organised too early or anything, so between getting our gear ready for the next day and just general procrastination, the time seems to pass quickly enough.

KMC: The best way to stay relaxed before a big game?

OC: I think everyone has different ways to deal with how they’re feeling before a game. Some people like to keep busy to avoid over-thinking it, others just like to keep to themselves.  I just like to focus on what I’ll eat and drink and make sure I have all my gear/kit right, etc. Music then is obviously great too for the bus journeys. 

KMC: Funniest moment of this year?

OC: There are loads of them but one in particular would have been Liam O’Reilly’s sessions up in the indoor astro hall in Na Piarsaigh at the start of the year. Doing all sorts of bizarre – but tough – exercises with the likes of Bon Jovi blaring in the background. It may not have been that funny at the time but looking back at it now it’d make you laugh!

KMC: You like your music, so if you could have picked any tune to play in the dressing-room afterwards, what would you chose?

OC: Funnily enough, I had the job of picking tunes for the All-Ireland final weekend, so the first one I had playing in the dressing room after we won was You Want Me by Tom Zanetti. What a tune!

KMC: Sticking to the music theme so, and seeing as you work in the Opera House part-time, what’s your favourite musical (and why)? 

OC: Les Miserables. It’s a goodie – patriotic and all that.

KMC: Switching the spotlight back to camogie, what was the difference between Orla Cronin 2016 and this year’s version? 

OC: This year I’m a more confident, fitter player. When you’re confident in the work you’ve done and have the belief, it’s a lot easier to play with freedom and express yourself and thankfully things went well.

KMC: You might have missed this, but Niall Lombard said on Twitter that he can see now why you started ahead of him an U12 level with St Mary’s. Niall aside, who was the best local underage player you played with?

OC: My midfield partner at U12, Niall Kelleher, used to run the show for us!

KMC: You’ve a county intermediate final for Enniskeane coming up – against Newcestown on October 7th. But what was your favourite game for Enniskeane?

OC: I wouldn’t be able to pinpoint any one game but 2013, the year we won the junior A county, would stand out. We also had some tough encounters with the likes of Newcestown, Kilbrittain and Clon that year in West Cork competitions and did well when we were at a lower grade than them. Those games really stood to us in the years that followed.

KMC: Any plans afoot to bring the O’Duffy Cup back to Enniskeane in the coming weeks?

OC: Nothing set in stone yet but hopefully there’ll be a weekend where it will pay a visit to Cookies again. We might tie it in with a weekend to Libby (Coppinger)’s part of the country, Kealkill.

KMC: Finally, if you could bring one former Cork player out of retirement to play with, who would it be?

OC: Jenny O’Leary. I played with her briefly in 2014 and just from watching then, her work ethic and attitude was so admirable. She’s still fit as a fiddle and would be such an asset to any team.

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