CORK camogie ace Pamela Mackey has revealed that she is not yet ready to permanently close the door on her inter-county career.
Contrary to the belief in some circles, the five-time All-Ireland winner has not made a decision to exclusively focus on her career with her club Douglas for the remaining years of her playing days.
“I’ve chosen to take a break from playing with Cork in this year’s campaign, but hopefully I’ll be back playing with the county in next year’s league and championship,” pointed out the long-serving defender, whose fellow Rebel ace Gemma O’Connor has announced her retirement in the wake of nine All-Ireland senior wins and 11 All Star awards.
“I’ve been playing with the Cork senior team since I was 16 years of age, but I’m still only 28, and I would like to think that I’ll still be playing inter-county camogie when I’m well into my thirties.
“Over the course of this year, I intend to keep in very good physical shape and that will make it easier for me to make the transition back to inter-county camogie when next year comes around.
“Already, I’ve started to do a good of running, and because of my commitments with Cork and Douglas this was something I was unable to do for the last 13 years or so.
“I’m up to doing around 13 kilometres at the moment and my plan is to gradually build up my endurance and my speed to where I would be capable of running the distance of a marathon,” added Mackey, whose twin sister Katriona also lines out with the county and intends to play on this year with Paudie Murray’s charges.
Unlike the campaigns of 2009, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018 when Pamela and Katriona helped the Leesiders to All-Ireland glory, the Mackey twins had their hopes of O’Duffy Cup success dashed at the semi-final stage of the last two campaigns.
But Pamela, who, along with her teammates, suffered penultimate disappointment at the hands of Kilkenny last year and Galway in 2019 - by respective agonising two point and one point margins - is very hopeful that Cork will increase its haul of All-Ireland camogie titles to 29 in this year’s championship.
“There are a lot of very promising young players coming through from the Cork minor teams who won the All-Ireland in 2018 and 2019 and that has to be a big plus for the senior side this year, and also for future years,” enthused the four-time All Star award winner who has played in every defensive position at inter-county level, the wing-back berths being her favourite roles.
“So I would be optimistic that, along with Kilkenny and Galway, Cork will be there or thereabouts in this year’s championship.”