IT promises to be one of the best nights of the year.
On Friday, October 30th, Ballineen-Enniskeane is the place to be as local camogie star Orla Cronin brings the O’Duffy Cup to her West Cork home for the first time since Cork won last month’s All-Ireland senior final.
After picking up a Celtic Ross West Cork Sports Star of the Month award for September last Friday night in the Celtic Ross Hotel – All-Ireland ladies’ football winner Aine Terry O’Sullivan was also honoured with an award – Enniskeane ace Orla is getting ready for another night of celebrations.
‘I still can’t believe we won the All-Ireland. It’s still a bit surreal,’ said Orla, who now has won two All-Irelands to her name.
‘The celebrations aren’t finished yet. We have a really nice night to look forward to in Ballineen when we bring the O’Duffy Cup back to Enniskeane, my home club. That will be great for the club, and a chance for people to meet some Cork players who are coming down for the night.’
The plan is for Orla, her teammates and the O’Duffy Cup to be feted in the Beda Hall in Ballineen-Enniskeane on Friday, October 30th, at 8.30pm where they will be introduced to supporters. The party will continue on in Cookies Bar (sponsors of Enniskeane camogie) in Castletownkenneigh afterwards.
It’s a night that the second year UCC student is already looking forward to, but she still found time to reflect on her West Cork Sports Star of the Month award for September.
Orla is following in some very famous West Cork camogie footsteps, namely Jennifer O’Leary, who is a two-time West Cork Sports Star of the Year. Not only that, but Barryroe native O’Leary won four All-Irelands and eight All-Stars during a glittering camogie career.
‘I was thrilled to be recognised, in West Cork especially,’ Orla (19) said.
‘It’s a great honour for me to be able to represent West Cork and on the night of the awards Paudie (Palmer) talked about Jennifer O’Leary and how the selection committee was wondering when would they have another Cork senior camogie player representing West Cork.
‘To be on the Cork panel and representing West Cork, and following in the footsteps of Jenny O’Leary is a great honour.’
While she’s busy with college now, her thoughts are already turning to 2016. As well as Cork camogie, Orla is also confident that Carbery camogie can make an impression.
‘With Carbery this year we had good intentions in the senior championship, and if we pull together next year then I think we are good enough to be in contention,’ the Cork camogie forward said.
‘There is no shortage of camogie players in West Cork at the moment, and you have Newcestown after winning a county title, and all the underage talent in the division at the moment, so camogie is getting stronger in West Cork.
‘St Catherines, who beat us in the quarter-final, got to the final (where they lost to Milford), so maybe we are not that far off it.’
Meanwhile, it’s funny how sport can bring people together, as while Orla and Aine Terry O’Sullivan were honoured with separate Celtic Ross West Cork Sports Star awards last Friday night, they actually only met for the first time earlier that day in a photocall at UCC, as the college honoured its All-Ireland winners.
‘It just so happened that Orla and myself were standing next to each other for the photo earlier on Friday. We got talking, and then that night we met again for the West Cork Sports Star awards so after never meeting before, we met twice in the one day!’ Orla laughed.
Orla is the daughter of Humphrey and Bernie (both from Kilbrittain), and youngest sister to Diane, Denise, Yvonne, Stephen and Daniel.