CLONAKILTY are targeting a winning start to life in the senior county football championship this Sunday.
Intermediate Cork LGFA champions in 2020, Clon take their place in the top-tier championship this season and have been drawn in Group 2 alongside Éire Óg, St Val’s and Kinsale – and their campaign bursts into life with a clash against Kinsale this Sunday, 26th, in Ahamilla, at 4pm.
Cork captain and goalkeeper Martina O’Brien, who won the county senior title with West Cork last season, is an experienced campaigner who knows this level better than most. She knows the challenge that awaits in the weeks ahead but feels Clon are ready to make the step-up to senior.
‘We really do want to get a good start on Sunday and get the win we’re looking for,’ she told this week’s Star Sport Podcast.
‘For me, realistically, we have to be focussed game on game, building with each game, getting the older girls meshed in with the younger girls, getting a system in place, and getting girls stronger and fitter because there is a jump to senior level.’
In late August Clonakilty contested the county senior football league final against Mourneabbey and while the latter won 2-21 to 3-5, it was a great experience for the West Cork team in their first season at this level.
‘We are looking to make strides in senior this year. We are only up, we have a very young panel but we also have some experienced players,’ O’Brien said.
‘We had a good league campaign and we got to the final there, maybe something that we didn’t think we could do in our first year up. Management did really well and they have really got players primed for the championship and to find a system that works best for us; they used the league really well for that.
‘Going into the championship we have done a lot of work. Kinsale are our first opposition, they have been senior for a few years and we will have girls who will be nervous playing in their first senior championship game. It’s a learning curve for us and it starts on Sunday.’
This game also pits Clon goalkeeper O’Brien up against two of her Cork team-mates, Orla Finn and Sadhbh O’Leary, who are the star forwards in the Kinsale side.