MARTINA O’Brien is well used to the big occasion. The Ballinascarthy woman has lined out in All-Ireland finals and league deciders with Cork, so she’s not easily fazed.
Last year she was between the posts for West Cork in their first county senior football final against Mourneabbey, a game that finished in a draw and needed a replay to separate the two. It was heartbreak for O’Brien and West Cork on the second day, but they can use that experience and channel that energy for this Saturday’s county final.
‘We’ve been there last year, done that, so we should be more relaxed, more clued-in this time. A final is a final and you’re bound to be a bit nervous,’ says the West Cork captain who acknowledges the size of the job ahead of them at CIT.
‘Mourneabbey have won the last five county finals, they’re going for six in a row and they’re All-Ireland champions now as well, so they start red-hot favourites. We know what they’re about, they know what we’re about, so it’s going to be on the day, who works hardest, who gets the bit of luck. We have a lot of work to do.’
The addition of the Bantry Blues players has strengthened the panel this season, O’Brien says, and also they have trained together more than normal following Cork’s exit from the championship at the All-Ireland semi-final stage.
‘We have probably got together more than other years but we would have liked some more. We have the Bantry players back this season, that’s a big bonus and the new girls who have come in are excellent, have put in a huge effort. Definitely the new girls have added something extra this season’ O’Brien says, before giving her verdict on the semi-final win against Éire Óg.
‘The second half was a bit lack-lustre, not exactly what we were looking for. We did miss a lot of scores and we need to take all our scores.’