FOR the majority of clubs, they are still over two months away from championship as the inter-county fixtures take precedent.
I have to say that the senior opening round fixtures in Cork camogie have thrown up really close ties. There is no obvious outcome in any of them.
That’s the way the championship has unfolded in the last few years.
Since Milford’s domination waned it became open season and even though Inniscarra won three in a row in 2018 they weren’t raging favourites at the beginning of each season, last season in particular having lost Joanne Casey from their championship winning team of 2017.
What they have achieved is down to tremendous discipline, work ethic and leadership qualities. You need leaders in teams. To all just do your bit is more often than not, not enough.
When the chips are down, and the pressure is on, it is the team with leaders that will prevail. I think Inniscarra had many leaders last year.
How club ‘player of the year’ Niamh Dilworth stood up and was counted after Casey’s departure is noteworthy. Captain Treasa McCarthy wore her heart on her sleeve throughout the campaign, making runs and winning possession she had no right to.
Katie O’Mahony and Niamh McCarthy amongst others were true leaders.
What will 2020 bring for Inniscarra?
It gets harder every year to keep the hunger and momentum going, added to the fact that the opposition will raise their game by 20% to try and dethrone you.
But don’t rule out four in a row for a club with a strong underage structure coming up behind.
Courcey Rovers will, of course, be hoping to build on last year. And just like Glen Rovers in 2018, if you don’t reach the final again its seen as a step backward.
But it isn’t. Sometimes pairings go with you and you get stronger as the season progresses.
At times you could be up against the best in round two or three.
So focusing on just one game at a time and bettering themselves on the training ground should be Rovers' target and see where that takes them.
They’re a young side and they’ll be tough opposition for anyone.
The fact that they’re up against Milford in round one is still a tough opener despite Milford not being champions for a while. Rovers had the better of Milford in last years semi-final after a top-class performance.
The North Cork side are typically not at their best in opening rounds so this will be a difficult one for them. An exciting game is predicted.
Glen Rovers need leaders.
They are a nice balanced outfit but when they are playing below par there isn’t anyone grabbing the game and team by the scruff of the neck and driving them to rise their performance.
They let a six-point lead behind them in their first round to Milford last year, losing 2-16 to 0-16 and while they showed great drive in the opening 20 minutes of that game, they faded, and didn’t live up to expectations against Ballygarvan in round two, losing by a goal.
If they can toughen up and go for this championship with the grit between their teeth they’ve a great chance.
Sarsfields had a horrendously facile victory over Mallow in round one last year. Mallow since opting to wisely downgrade and rebuild.
But the East Cork side got hit for five goals against Inniscarra and exited the championship.
I don’t think they were prepared for the physicality of that game, but that’s what you’re up against when you face the best.
That game will stand to them heading into the meeting with Douglas on July 23.
Plenty of challenge games against better opposition is the way to go and tough battles in training.
I find at times that girls don’t go in hard enough on each other at training. If you don’t do it in training, you won’t do it on match day.
Éire Óg make the step up for the first time in many years and we wish them luck in the top flight.
Good luck to all the clubs. It promises to be once again, a highly entertaining championship.
SE Systems Senior Championship fixtures:
Preliminary Round A: Carbery v Muskerry.
Round 1: Milford v Courcey Rovers; St Catherine's v Killeagh; Douglas v Sarsfields; Ballincollig v Glen Rovers; Éire Óg v Inniscarra; Winners A v Cloughduv; St Finbarr's v Ballygarvan.