IT’S a repeat of the 2018 county senior camogie final.
Twenty-four months ago, Courcey Rovers had a tremendous campaign and reached their first senior final in the club’s history.
They faced county champions Inniscarra who were reaching for their third title in as many years. Inniscarra won, 1-13 to 0-5. It was a hard lesson for the young Rovers side.
Mike Boland manager and coach for the past three years alongside selectors Kevin Hannon and Joey Gallagher, and Shirley Moloney who stepped in this year, have put in tremendous work to get Courcey’s back into another final.
There are others who have also stepped in to lend a hand and Mike is thrilled how well they all work together.
“We all get on very well as a management team. Thankfully we’re nearly always in the same frame of mind and not pulling against each other.”
Reflecting on 2018, Mike says the occasion got the better of his team.
“The occasion got to them (players). Inniscarra two years ago were coming off winning two counties, into their third final and the bottom line is that experience stood.
“We started well that day, we got the first two scores but Inniscarra grind you down, they stay in the game and a lot of our girls that day didn’t perform to where we had been throughout that championship.
“I think nerves, our first county final, they were very nervous and it showed because at times things happened that didn’t happen throughout the championship.
“We had won the league the year before (2017), and after winning that, with a trophy in hand, I thought that we might be able to kick on but I think the occasion, the national anthem being played, things the girls had never experienced before probably got to them.
“But that’s not taking away from Inniscarra, they do what they do well, they turned up, they played to their high standard and they’ll turn up on Sunday coming the very same way.
“They’ll have their high standard, the difference I would be hoping this Sunday is that we would turn up with the high standard we are capable of producing too.
“Things are going well and I’d just be hoping we can transfer that onto the field without any frills or circus that surrounds it.”
In 2018, with such a young side at the time many felt that it might be too soon for Courcey’s.
As it turned out the final didn’t go their way and here they are again two years later, stronger, older, wiser.
One imagines they’ll appreciate this one all the more if the result goes their way.
“Yeah,” Mike agreed.
“They’re after maturing, they know their roles now. It took 12 months to find their roles three years ago but they know where they should be on the field at any stage now.
“They’re a lot more developed and as a group they’re more mature. I think even the younger girls that have come in, Fiona Keating was only 17 at the time (2018), Saoirse McCarthy was only 17, they were very young girls.
“Linda (Collins) was 22. We had probably six girls that were between the age of 17 to 19. That’s very young to go into your first county final.”
It’s more or less that same team, maybe one or two changes. Lorraine Collins, in her first year out of minor, has come into the starting 15.
Emily O’Regan who started at corner-back at the start of the season is out with injury.
Ashling Moloney is 27 years of age and has once again had a great season at centre-back, driving Courcey’s at every stage.
“Ashling is a massive leader,” acknowledges Mike. “She’s very mature and has got better over the past two years. This is probably the best I’ve seen her.
“She’s a great leader on the field for us. Jacinta (Crowley) is back injury-free and that’s a big plus for us too.”
And his thoughts for Sunday are that it is going to be very close.
“Inniscarra in fairness to them, let's give them credit. Last Sunday you’d be thinking the game is going against them.
“They dug in and they got the most important score at an important time that didn’t leave the Barrs back in.
“Last year they were being beaten by Sars by six points with time almost up and they could have snuck a draw because they were very unlucky with a couple of goals.
“They were there three years before they made the breakthrough, losing to Milford, so they’ve been around eight years.
“They know how to win and sometimes you can’t buy that experience in knowing how to win tight games.
“I’d be hoping we’ll put in a performance. The years go by and you might never get back to a county final. We’re lucky that we were able to keep going and be back here again.
“This is nothing new to Inniscarra, the bottom line is they know what’s coming Sunday. They’ll be prepared.
“We know what’s coming Sunday. We’ve seen their last two games against the Glen and the Barrs. We know that both teams had a sneak of winning the match but still Inniscarra ended up winning them.
“Inniscarra are the ones in the final. If we turn up Sunday we’ll have as good a chance as them.
“I think it has the makings of a cracker of a match. It’s David and Goliath. It’s one of those matches I think where everyone is waiting to see do Courceys turn up or are Inniscarra the same as they usually are.”