FEW would have imagined Douglas would get through to the SE Systems Senior Camogie Championship semi-final when they suffered a seven-point defeat to St Finbarr's.
The Barrs were another side who possibly weren’t on the tip of people’s tongues predicted as being in the last four of this year’s championship. Why? I’m not sure considering they only lost to Sarsfields in last year’s semi-final by four points.
Maybe we weren’t giving them the credit they deserved. Because they’re here again, showing solid consistency and in my opinion playing better than 12 months ago.
Both clubs find themselves in this position after putting in solid and impressive performances. Douglas face Courcey Rovers on Sunday in what should be an absolutely cracking game. Michael O’Regan is sure to once again be streaming the game so people won’t be denied the chance to see these two in action.
The Barrs await the winners of Glen Rovers versus Inniscarra, postponed last weekend due to an Inniscarra member being tested for Covid-19. Thankfully the test was clear and that game is the first of the double senior header in Castle Road on Sunday.
Finalists in 2018 and plagued with injuries in 2019 Courceys were always going to be a side to be reckoned with again this season. A couple of years older and wiser from that championship final they are fast becoming an experienced and proficient outfit.
Of the teams left, who has the most balanced side? The gap is narrowing.
St Finbarr's improved with that three-goal return against Killeagh. Douglas have improved in a lot of areas, their defence really stood tall last weekend. Add in Mairead Mulrooney and Alicia Cremin who was just excellent at full-forward and it isn’t just about the Cork players anymore in the Douglas set-up.
Rovers have such a strong defence. Ashling Moloney is a real leader, Edel beside her. Ciara Hayes is rock solid, Karyn Keohane at full-back, Jacinta Crowley at midfield, very accurate on frees. Up front Christine O’Neill had a great quarter-final, Linda Collins, Fiona Keating, Saoirse McCarthy, they have such talent in every line.
But it takes more than that when it comes to a semi-final. It takes a real desire to win. Courceys showed that spirit against St Catherine's, they’ll need it even stronger again this weekend.
The Glen and Inniscarra, the Glen have had the toughest of routes and are playing really well, it’s been a while since Inniscarra put on their championship boots and that’s another game to really look forward to.
Down to the last five, it’s really getting exciting as the cream of the crop start going head to head.
Katrina Mackey missed out on the club championship in 2019 due to a prolonged hand injury. She does so much more than score spectacular goals and points. Her presence, how she lifts the entire squad is telling.
Last season, even without Katrina, Douglas should have had a far better return than five points against Éire Óg in the backdoor having already lost to Sars, and at that point, it seemed a long way back for the city club.
But here they are having put that opening defeat to St Finbarr's behind them and impressively accounting for Ballincollig, champions Sarsfields and Éire Óg, hitting 4-13 this time around. Douglas look as if they’re enjoying themselves and it’s no surprise that manager Philip Kavanagh has a part in that.
He said it’s all about enjoyment.
"Look the reason girls play sport is to have fun. We have fun. We’ll take the next game like we took the last and if we win great, if we don’t we’ll take that too.
"We’ll give it our best. Having Pam, Katrina and Julia with us has been immense. All the girls, those that won the Féile in 2009 and the younger players behind them, have all gelled and bought into each other.
"Ashling O’Brien, our chairperson has done huge work and been a great help to us. We’re taking nothing for granted, just one game at a time’’.
SUNDAY, SE Systems Senior Championship at Castle Road:
Quarter-final: Glen Rovers v Inniscarra, 2pm; Semi-final: Courcey Rovers v Douglas, 5pm.