THE Mackey twins are true leaders and wonderful role models for Cork camogie.
Now in their 12th season in Rebel red, Katrina and Pamela are looking forward to the challenge Kilkenny will pose on at Páirc Uí Chaoim this Saturday. Along with Gemma O’Connor and Julia White, they are the longest-serving members of the current squad and are one win away from returning to the All-Ireland final.
Hugely committed to the game, they can be found in the gym during the off-season as they keep themselves sharp. Every season they come back rearing to go.
For Katrina: "It’s just that the game is at such a high standard now that if you stop you will be left behind.
"You must keep it going all year around if you want to be the best no longer is it acceptable to finish the season and take a few months off and expect to come back in good shape, you must be ready when the season starts and this is what must be done.”
Both girls acknowledge the help from John Corr in Fitnessworx Gym who is always superb to them.
Pamela explained: “John is a huge help and is always on hand to look after us and we really appreciate it and all the facilities in Fitnessworx Gym we are able to use, we would be lost without them.”
The influx of younger players into the panel has brought a new buzz to the camp and Katriona and Pamela look back to their early days when they started on the senior journey.
“When we joined the senior squad in 2009, Gemma O'Connor, Aoife Murray, Orla Cotter, Rena Buckley and Mary O’Connor to name a few were the established players and we looked up to them but they treated us no differently.
"We wanted to be as good as them so we had to challenge ourselves and up the work-rate to try and keep on top of things. It is the same now with the younger girls who have come in they want to be as good as the older established players so it is up to all of us to challenge them and perform to the highest of our ability in training and set high standards."
They are big fans of the new split-season and this year they really enjoyed being able to train with Douglas and get to know a lot of the club's younger players.
“It was great to go down to the club and be part of everything going on in the championship build-up, it was good for clubs to have their players available and also when the championship was over to be able to fully commit to inter-county so we really enjoyed it .”
They have had huge success so far. The holders of five All-Ireland senior medals, two All-Ireland Féiles, an All-Ireland senior colleges title and a county, they have done it all but the desire to win on Saturday is huge.
“Last year hurt so much we were gutted to lose to Galway. We're back in the semi-final and the rivalry is intense with Kilkenny,” said Pamela.
Katriona says they have "hugely skillful forwards all capable of winning a game, they will be up for it especially after the last two meetings.
"We are on home ground and we will be giving it everything we have to reach a December All-Ireland final."