The Paudie Palmer column: From Courcey Rovers to Roy of the Rovers stuff

The Paudie Palmer column: From Courcey Rovers to Roy of the Rovers stuff

Fiona Keating and Joey Gallagher, Courcey Rovers, celebrate at the final whistle, after beating Inniscarra in the senior camogie final last weekend. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

LAST Sunday morning, yours truly decided that the daily fresh air intake would be fulfilled by a walk along the environs of Garrettstown and Garrylucas beaches.

Those of you, who visit that scenic area do not need reminding of the rather negative effects of ongoing coastal erosion.

Over the years an incredible amount of sand has been removed from its original location and relocated out onto the adjoining roadway.

Then again, if you were a sociology or environment student, you would be well versed in the changes that have attached to beach visits over the past 50 years or so.

Memories from the photographic department will show crowds of people sunbathing on this and other sand havens, now it’s all about water sports.

Anyway, on the way to location in question. It was a journey through Courcey Rovers land and the amount of red and white on display from the Seven Crosses to the Speckled Door and all points beyond, left no one in doubt that this was the team of its people.

Some of the signage was fresh off the shelves and some was rescued from the cold storage department as the hurling army from this location have also viewed the scenery from top of the victory podium on county final day.

It is a rural parish that affords a welcoming to those who visit its valuable beach industry.

Twenty years ago, they achieved senior status but I would suggest that for the majority of the intervening years, that, they would have been regarded, if we could borrow from the world of association football, as a mid-table team.

Two years ago, they reached their first county final only to be beaten by a seriously talented Inniscarra side who it had taken control of the baton as market leaders from Milford.

 Christine O'Neill, Courcey Rovers, battling Ciara Ring, Inniscarra. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Christine O'Neill, Courcey Rovers, battling Ciara Ring, Inniscarra. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

As I headed through their territories, I couldn’t escape thinking that this could be the day of historical proportions or indeed it could end up as one which would seek refuge in the opportunity missed closet.

As was the case with the ladies football, the decision by the Irish Examiner to live steam the final added serious value.

You do remember from last week when I mentioned Fiona Keating. At 19 years of age she was playing in her fifth adult county final in three years.

Two weeks ago she won a county senior football medal when a West Cork team captured their first title, could she now add a top-level camogie one with a team also endeavouring to land its maiden title?

Viewing proceedings from the TV lounge, there was a real fear that those red and white flags would spend a lonely winter blowing as reminders of another failure.

Inniscarra the favourites went five ahead. No point saying otherwise but it appeared that the historians could park up their quills.

However the Courcey defensive department didn’t let those early points become defining events.

Others upped the performance stakes, a few underdog white flags got the scoreboard showing movement on their side of the balance sheet.

Twenty four minutes in, the aforementioned Fiona Keating got a goal most centre-forwards would be proud of. Undoubtedly it was major signpost. 

 Fiona Keating, Courcey Rovers, in action against, Inniscarra. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Fiona Keating, Courcey Rovers, in action against, Inniscarra. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Just before the orange break, another member of the younger brigade Saoirse McCarthy landed a second to leave the half time score at 2-8 to 0-6. The pendulum had swung and now it was the South East side’s match to lose.

Yes Inniscarra, as they did in the first half made the more positive start. Eight minutes after the restart, Courceys' dual star then struck for her second and it was time for the bonfire operators to put the pallets in place at the strategic entry points.

Could the day get better?

For, Fiona Keating it did. She got a third goal, picked up the Player of the Match and I would think that no other Gaelic game practicing teenager in the country could come near her most unique of doubles.

When it was all over, the realisation of the dream was complete when team captain and full-back Karyn Keohane took possession of probably the most uniquely named trophy in Irish sport, the Punch Shoe Care Cup.

We may have mentioned in the past about the paucity of trophies that journey under the viaduct to winter residences.

So far in this, year of years, western ladies outfits are in a seriously rich vein of form. To-date in ladies football, the Senior A (West Cork), Intermediate (Clonakity), Junior A (Valley Rovers) together with camogie’s big two, Senior (Courcey Rovers) and Intermediate (Enniskeane) have all headed to western locations.

Else where in the male department, Knocknagree’s recovery from that seven-goal concession against Cill na Martra earlier, continues.

On Saturday last a few alterations by their sideline supremo John Fintan Daly ensured that they were one ahead of neighbours Newmarket at the last sounding of this premier intermediate football semi-final.

Next Saturday in Millstreet the other semifinal between the aforementioned Cill Na Martra and Kanturk is down for decision.

Whoever wins it, it will make for an incredible final. Would you rule a Knocknagree victory now? I wouldn’t and nor should you.

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