WHAT a week it has been for Karyn Keohane and her Courcey Rovers team-mates.
Last Sunday they captured the club’s first-ever Cork senior camogie championship title and it sparked huge celebrations, but already their attention has turned to their new target: the Munster senior camogie championship.
The new Cork champions travel to Clare this Sunday to take on the Banner County’s finest, Inagh/Kilnamona.
It should be a cracking contest in which Courceys will need to be at their best. Inagh/Kilnamona defeated Newmarket-on-Fergus by ten points to capture their fourth Clare senior title in five years a few weeks ago.
‘There was talk at the beginning of the season that there might not even be a Munster championship, depending on Covid, so we really didn’t focus on it too much,’ Courceys captain Karyn Keohane said.
‘It was only after all the excitement died down a bit after the final whistle that we realised, God, there’s a Munster championship game to get ready for. In the past few days, talk has turned to that game and we want to go as far in the competition as we can. Everyone is looking forward to it.’
Still, they have allowed themselves soak in the glory from last Sunday’s famous win against Inniscarra, and no doubt they will return to it again once they’ve, hopefully, conquered Munster.
So, what was the feeling like at the exact moment the final whistle shrilled against Inniscarra after Courceys 5-12 to 1-12 win?
‘To be honest, I can’t remember!’ Keohane admitted.
‘I suppose it was pure delight and trying to realise that this was finally after happening for us. We got there, we finally won it (senior county). I don’t think that it has properly registered with us yet. I think a lot of the players are still in a bit of disbelief that we have finally won a county.
‘Getting our hands on that trophy, it is just mad really. Even a couple of days after, it hasn’t (properly) hit us at all yet.’
Whatever the future holds, Courcey Rovers will cherish the feeling of winning a first senior title and deservedly so. After getting off to a slow start, the eventual winners rattled the net five times to cement the Ballinspittle club’s deserved triumph.
‘We talked about it beforehand in that we knew Inniscarra always started their matches at a fierce pace and high tempo,’ Keohane explained.
‘We knew they were going to come at us with their usual intensity, right from the start. Just before the final started, we got together and said even if they get three goals in the first three minutes, there will be 57 minutes left so let’s keep our composure and don’t panic.
‘As it happened, Inniscarra had five scores on the board before we registered our first point but not a single one of us panicked. We knew that we would be able to claw back that lead once things settled down. We got into our rhythm, passed the ball through the lines and got going.
‘The team fought to the bitter end and didn’t leave a single player isolated. It was our work rate, from start to finish, that was unbelievable. I know Inniscarra got the first few scores but watching the game back again, even conceding the first five points, our work rate was unbelievable.
‘Having the likes of Fiona Keating, Linda Collins and Saoirse McCarthy on the team, they produced the goods on the day which was great.’
Naturally, Courcey Rovers’ chief scorers – Keating (3-2), Collins (1-5) and McCarthy (1-1) – drew plenty of headlines, but Keohane is quick to pay tribute to her fellow defenders who held their opponents scoreless during crucial periods of the county final.
‘Well, I am one of the defenders so I will always claim bragging rights for the backs!’ Keohane admitted.
'Throughout the season, I believe our backs have been phenomenal. All six of us have worked well as a unit and always hunted in packs. From the first game against Cloughduv, until the county final against Inniscarra, our defence has worked ever so hard. The backs definitely deserve all the praise that they get!’
And they’re not finished yet. Bring on Munster.