COURCEY Rovers Munster camogie championship odyssey may have been ended by Inagh Kilnamona but should not detract from what’s been a terrific year for the Ballinspittle club.
Courcey’s Cork inter-county star Linda Collins played an integral role in helping her club claim a first ever county title over the past number of months.
A seven-day turnaround between the county decider and provincial semi-final plus the loss of Saoirse McCarthy to a midweek injury made for a difficult build-up. Atrocious weather conditions did little to help Courcey’s cause against a rested and well-prepared Inagh Kilnamona.
‘The conditions were a major factor,’ Linda Collins told The Southern Star.
‘We experienced dry conditions and clean hurling throughout the (Cork) senior championship until last weekend. There were times we were hitting the sliotar and it was almost coming back at you, so strong was the wind.
‘It was a totally different experience for us and after a three-hour car journey as well, we just weren’t used to it. Very tough conditions against the wind in the first half and we hardly had any energy left in the second (half) then.’
Collins was Courcey’s sole scorer in a difficult opening half, netting a fine individual goal early on. Yet, that was as good as it got for a Rovers side that struggled to withstand Inagh Kilnamona’s constant attacks and trailed 0-14 to 1-0 at the break.
Although they added four additional points after the break, Danielle Griffin’s goal ensured the Clare club won their third Munster senior crown in four years.
Yet, it would be unfair for last weekend’s result to overshadow Courcey’s achievement of claiming a first ever county senior title in 2020. It is clear that a full squad training together without any outside distractions may have been the deciding factor in Rovers triumphant campaign.
‘Having everyone around made a massive difference this year,’ Collins added.
‘Nobody was going to their Debs, no one was going on holidays or getting married! Everyone was around and looking forward to meeting each other at training. There were nearly 25 players training every night.
‘I had never been to so much club training in the last six or seven years. Everyone just really enjoyed it. The fact that every player was buying into it and if you weren’t there, you’d feel like you were missing out.
‘We would go to the beach after every session for a recovery swim. We used to go over to the beach on the day before any of our championship games and have breakfast together. That definitely helped build a bond within the panel.’
During Covid, it was Shirley Moloney who kept the Courcey Rovers panel on their toes by hosting zoom training sessions. There was no talk of camogie, just making sure everyone remained fit while they were stuck at home.
‘This year, because of the pandemic, showed what it takes to win a county medal,’ Cork camogie star Collins admitted.
‘Other years, a few of us would be missing whilst training with Cork. Then, we have a few intermediate and junior inter-county players away as well. That’s why (Covid) showed what it takes to win a county championship. Every club player needs to be together and buy into what’s required as well.’
Courcey Rovers finish the year as first-time Cork senior camogie champions. No one quite knows what the immediate future holds. Linda Collins and her teammates first taste of county glory suggests Courceys possess all the attributes to defend their title and have another crack off the Munster championship.