THE Munster and All-Ireland winning junior camogie team from Sacred Heart Secondary School in Clonakilty need to make more room in their bulging trophy cabinet.
To recognise their Munster title junior B success the team was presented with the Carbery Monthly GAA Award for January, and they went one step further earlier this month by adding the All-Ireland to their collection.
Members of the Carbery board – including chairman Tom Lyons, secretary Donal McCarthy and development officer and chairman of the awards’ selection committee Don Desmond – visited Sacred Heart to present the award. Also present were the principal Ann-Marie Brosnan, vice-principal Brendan Walsh and team coach Ciarán Mulcahy.
Members of the parents’ committee and representatives of the local camogie clubs also attended. Seven camogie clubs were represented on the team, namely Clonakilty, Enniskeane, Kilbree, Ballinascarthy, Barryroe, Timoleague and Kilbrittain.
Team captain Daire O’Brien has hurling blood in her veins. A Ballinacarriga girl, her grandfather Mick was a star player on the successful Doheny hurling team of the late 1950s and her father Pat was a star Randal Óg player for over 20 years.
‘I was picked as captain before the first match, not sure whether it was Mr Mulcahy or the girls but I was in for the year,’ said a clearly delighted Daire.
‘I play my camogie with the Enniskeane club where I joined when I was 12. Before that I would play with my sister Emer every Sunday morning in the Ballinacarriga pitch, with my father urging us on.
‘I’ve won a few county minor titles with Enniskeane and some West Cork titles as well. I played primary schools with Cork and we have three Cork U16s on our school team now, as well as five Cork U14s.’
It was St Mary’s of Midelton that Sacred Heart beat three times in this campaign, including the provincial and All-Ireland finals, as Daire reflects on the journey to the top.
‘We played St Mary’s in the first round of the Munster here in Clonakilty and we won well that day,’ Daire said.
‘Then we beat Laurel Hill in UL and St Flannan’s in Bruff in Limerick. They were tough games and the weather wasn’t great. St Mary’s had got their act together when we met again in the Munster final. I suppose we might have preferred a different team but we won that.
‘We then had to travel down to Enniscorthy to play Scoil Bhríde of Enniscorthy. It was a terrible day but we won a great game by two points.
‘Amazingly, it was St Mary’s of Midleton again in the All-Ireland final and Mr Mulcahy had it drilled into us not to take anything for granted. We had huge support in Cork for that game and it definitely helped. We won and we were All-Ireland champions.’