BY DENIS HURLEY
THIS is Orla Cronin’s third year on the Cork senior camogie panel and so far she has a perfect record when it comes to the All-Ireland championship. On Sunday, she’ll aim to make it three in a row, but the Enniskeane star found time to answer a few queries too.
1. How does it compare going for a three in a row compared to your first year on the team?
‘Obviously in your first year everything is a new experience – the trainings, the tempo, the players you play with. I gained a lot of inspiration in my first year from fellow team-mates and now I’m probably more familiar with being part of a senior inter-county set-up. The excitement and anticipation of chasing another All-Ireland never changes though and that’s been the exact same this year!’
2. Is there pressure coming from a family where there are other GAA high-achievers (Orla’s father Humphrey played for Kilbrittain and Carbery, coaching Kilbrittain to the 1995 IHC on the day she was born, while brother Stephen has won a county SHC medal with Erin’s Own)?
‘Ah no, not at all. I suppose when hurling and GAA in general are big in your family, it’s nearly second nature to be involved and successful in it in some way. My parents and siblings, we all just enjoy it.’
3. What was the big difference you noticed on making the step up to senior inter-county?
‘I suppose the commitment to it really is something else. The hours you put into training, matches, gym sessions and so on, it really is full-time. It’s a more intense regime but highly enjoyable and rewarding.’
4. What do you do to hone free-taking technique, is there anybody in particular you model yourself on?
‘Free-taking for me really is all about having a technique you’re used to and what works for you, so I try to do something I’m comfortable and successful with.
Orla Cotter has always stood out to me as an unreal free taker – she rarely will miss one! John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer of Tipp and TJ Reid of Kilkenny are also really admirable in their consistency and conviction in free-taking.’
5. The semi-final win over Wexford was the best example of the squad’s mentality and overall approach – have there been many off-field activities which have contributed to this togetherness and spirit?
‘Not really, I suppose the togetherness really just stems from spending nearly most of your weeks with one another. From the start of January you’re training with these girls and playing matches and go through wins and losses together. We train hard but we also can laugh and joke together too and that all adds to the spirit, I suppose.’
6. Who were your heroes growing up and why?
‘When I was growing up, my brother Stephen was playing a lot of hurling with Erin’s Own and Cork, his talent inspired me and I think he had a massive influence on my love for the game. Outside of GAA, I was huge fan of Cristiano Ronaldo – he has skill and speed and, sure, he’s easy on the eye too!’
7. Hobbies away from camogie, when time allows?
‘Camogie does occupy most of my time during the year, especially with Ashbourne in college too with UCC. When I get a chance, it’s all about just meeting up with my friends and catching up with them, whether it’s to go out for food or for a few “quiet ones”!’