WHAT a difference a year and a pandemic make!
This week last year it was all systems go as the Littlewoods Division 2 National League got underway with a tough trip to Callan for Cork and newly-appointed manager Mark McCarthy looking forward to getting dug into round robin series of game.
Having been part of the backroom team the year before Mark knew the ropes and had a solid relationship built with the players and 2020 promised so much for him, his charges and his backroom team of Kevin Hannon, Tomas Harrington, Mossy O’ Sullivan Jerry Ryan, and Darragh O’Callaghan.
After two seasons of UCC Camogie, he got a call in 2019 from Frances Killeen who was then Cork intermediate manager to join her backroom as hurling and strength and conditioning coach.
Everything went well after he took over as manager, and facing into their last league game they were in with a chance of making it to the semi-final. Having enjoyed a decent league campaign hopes were high for the championship season that laid ahead.
The decision by the Camogie Association to eliminate second adult teams from participation in championship when games returned caused shock waves.
Despite counties exploring numerous avenues the decision was not reversed thus a group of players and mentors were left annoyed and disappointed as they watching in the wings as players of the same grade from other counties played away.
“We had 17 sessions done and were ready for championship when the competition was scrapped so yes it was disappointing not to be allowed participate when other counties of the same grade were playing away simply because they were their counties first teams.”
Disruption is nothing new to Mark his own hurling career was limited by surgery on both hips by the age of 21, having played all through underage with Inniscarra.
I picked up a few injuries from just overplaying and the hip surgery is common enough injury.
“It’s called scoping where both hips were cleaned out and reshaped, it isn’t a replacement, I remember jumping up to catch a ball, coming down and both hips locked and the bones were after cracking off the side of their sockets.
“There are no issues since but that’s how I found myself going into personal training as I was out for twelve months so then I went into coaching.”
Possessing a BA in Sports Science and Physical Education from UCC with Maths as his chosen subject, Mark had taken a year out from education rather than head straight down the teaching route. He put his knowledge and skills towards personal training developing a business with business partner Jerry Lynch Personal Training.
With successful branches in Ballincollig and Glanmire the lads opened a third branch in December 2020 but after three weeks everything has now gone online. Still, he remains optimistic.
“Sure we are doing free online classes at the moment and hopefully when we can open again our customers will come flooding through the doors.”
Mark is back stronger than ever on the camogie side of things and recently ratified to continue in the role as manager for 2021 he announced his backroom team, Darragh O’Callaghan from Blackrock is skills coach with selectors Kevin Hannon Courcey Rovers, Tom Harrington Fr O’Neill’s, and Jerry Ryan Ballinascarthy.
There are two new additions with analysis Tadhg O’Riordan Cloughduv and Laura McCarthy in the role of player liaison whilst county board liaison officer to the side is vice chairman Rachel Wycherley.
Mark himself will also be strength and conditioning coach and it is all systems go once Covid restrictions are lifted.
“We have parked 2020 it’s in the past we just now need to move on and work towards our goals.”
Mark is looking forward to the year ahead and despite the abrupt end to his season last year a lot of work was done and this will help as they face into 2021 and with McCarthy the helm Cork camogie are guaranteed no stone will be left unturned.
Once the green light is given to return to play he will be up and at them with renewed energy.