'Cork camogie clubs with big underage numbers like Sars and Carrigaline should follow the Inniscarra model'

Linda Mellerick on the senior camogie final, where Inniscarra face Seandún at Castle Road
'Cork camogie clubs with big underage numbers like Sars and Carrigaline should follow the Inniscarra model'

Sarsfield's goalkeeper Molly Lynch faces up to Hayley Ryan, Seandún, as she looks to clear off the line. Picture: Larry Cummins.

A FEW weeks ago, I mentioned that a St Finbarr's versus Sarsfield's Cork camogie final would be a good one. 

I thought that as I kept expecting Sars to find their mojo. It didn’t happen. 

Sars presently are just not exciting to watch. They are playing so flat it’s hard to fathom. It’s not so much that they lost their semi-final against Seandún last Saturday, it was the manner of the defeat. 

Last year you wouldn’t take too much notice of their under-performing. They were county champions and maybe they were still riding on the crest of their first title in 30 years. I felt their desire had temporarily left them. But after losing their title in 2020 you’d imagine that they’d have come back this season all guns blazing, having tasted the vast canyon between winning and losing. 

Sars should be like Inniscarra. They have been underage battle buddies all the way up. But there is no comparison in how the two teams now take to the field.

Sars scored just two goals on their way into last weekend’s semi-final with Seandún. With one extra game, Inniscarra had scored 10. They made it 11 against St Finbarr's.

There’s something to be said for losing your opening fixture with the way the championship is structured. Inniscarra had four games behind them heading into the semi-final last weekend. 

The Barrs had just two after beating Inniscarra in their opening round and receiving a ‘bye’ into the semi. That undoubtedly played its part in their defeat. 

Scarra went into the game with it being their fifth in as many weeks. For St Finbarr's, they just didn’t hit form at all, and you’d have to be disappointed for them after the effort they put in this year. But that’s sport and it’s all on the day.

So, we’ve an Inniscarra v Seandún final and I think this is going to be a great game tomorrow. Hopefully the weather stays dry, and the referee lets it run.

People have mixed views on divisional sides. Some feel it’s unfair on clubs and they shouldn’t be in competitions. I don’t hold that view. 

I don’t see many of the current players ever tasting senior club camogie in their career and they are more than capable of playing at that level. 

Because of the catchment area of their club and by and large the small numbers within, they will remain at junior or intermediate for the foreseeable future.  In fact, with the likes of Inniscarra, Éire Óg, Sars, Douglas, Ballincollig and Carrigaline booming with underage players, the future of the city club is getting all the more concerning. 

Should these players be denied a chance to compete with the best, to showcase their talent? 

It’s not as if divisional sides have been dominating matters. It’s 1994 since Seandún last made an appearance in a senior club final. 

Muskerry, winners of the 2007 camogie championship, the last division to lift the cup. Picture: Larry Cummins
Muskerry, winners of the 2007 camogie championship, the last division to lift the cup. Picture: Larry Cummins

Muskerry beat the Barrs in the 2007 final. We haven’t had a serious challenge from a divisional side for a long time and that’s because it’s just too difficult with the obstacles that are in their way with club camogie and more recently ladies’ football. 

Against all the odds Seandún have reached this year’s senior county final. These girls are buzzing. It’s huge for each one of them on a personal level and good luck to them tomorrow.

The commitment isn’t always there when it comes to playing for your division. But this year all the girls have given it. They may not have collectively trained but the effort they put in to wear the match day jersey is commendable. I spoke with manager Trevor Coleman during the week, and he gave a few examples of the effort these girls have made.

We played Newcestown and Blackrock’s Carol Ryan got on a flight at 4am from London, flew into Dublin and drove down and played the game. 

"Lauren Homan came home last weekend early from her holiday to line out with us in the semi-final. 

"There’s a great bond there, they just seem to have clicked. When Blackrock got beaten last Saturday in their championship semi-final, I was half expecting a phone call to say ‘look Trevor, we’re not turning up’ but to be fair, they went home, knuckled down for the hour and came back and were rewarded. 

"I don’t think these girls realise exactly what they’re after doing. Three matches nearly every weekend for a lot of them, two for the others, I just can’t get over it and where it has come from. 

"You can see the bond in the girls now. They have their arms around each other in huddles now whereas before they were standing apart."

It's the simple things that give the big signs.

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