Linda Collins' heart still with Courcey Rovers and Cork despite Dubai switch

Former Cork captain left the panel this year but will still tog out for her club this summer
Linda Collins' heart still with Courcey Rovers and Cork despite Dubai switch

Linda Collins, Courcey Rovers, battling Laura Hayes and Yvonne O'Neill, St Catherine's, for possession at Castle Road. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

FORMER Cork senior camogie captain Linda Collins said she is keeping her options open with regards to whether she will stay another year teaching in Dubai or return to the inter-county scene with the Rebels.

The Courcey Rovers club player who captained the Cork camogie team last year said she still has not decided if she will stay another year teaching in Dubai. 

“I haven’t fully decided what I’m doing yet but I’m keeping my options open,” the talented camogie player said.

Collins moved to Dubai following the conclusion of last year’s senior inter-county championship campaign where she has embarked on a teaching adventure and is loving life in the Middle East. 

“I love Dubai at the moment, I’ve made lots of friends, and friends become family when you live away from home. It is a nice place to live purely because there is so much to do. 

"Work is tough but I work with lots of my friends so I’m lucky it makes the work a lot easier. The weather is fab. 

"It’s getting very hot at the moment and you couldn’t stay out in it for too long. There are lots to do, whether it involves water parks, beaches, brunches, or hikes. There’s always something to be doing,” she said.

Cork’s Linda Collins scores the winning point in the All-Ireland semi-final against Kilkenny. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
Cork’s Linda Collins scores the winning point in the All-Ireland semi-final against Kilkenny. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

The 25-year-old immediately started playing GAA upon her arrival in Dubai. She is playing her club camogie and football with Sharjah Gaels with whom she has enjoyed much success. 

Collins has been impressed by the standard and said playing GAA enables her to make new friends. 

“I play with Sharjah Gaels. The season ended in March, so we are finished now. I played both camogie and football from when I arrived in October to March. The break is nice for the last month before I head home for the summer. 

"We have had a successful year winning two camogie tournaments and the senior football championship tournament. It’s so enjoyable to play out here and you meet lots of people and make so many friends.

I would think the standard is quite good. The football is quite fast-paced. 

"I play junior football at home and it’s probably a step up from that. It can just be so hot when you’re playing and it’s seven-a-side which takes a bit of getting used to but it’s great. There are a few other girls from Cork on the team too which is nice,” she added.

TOUGH DECISION

The Courcey Rovers dual player accepts it was a tough decision to move to Dubai following the conclusion of the senior inter-county season last year. Collins said she misses all the girls and the competitiveness of both the club and inter-county scene but is happy in Dubai for the moment. 

“It was a tough decision, but I always wanted to try something different. I always said if I didn’t like it, I would’ve had no problem coming home, but it turns out I loved it and now I’m in no rush home. 

"I definitely do miss the girls a lot and the competitiveness of it, but I am happy in Dubai and enjoying playing here for the moment.” 

She is looking forward to returning home this summer after the academic year ends in Dubai and playing with her beloved Courceys once again this summer. 

“I’ll be home for the summer playing with my club. I’m excited to dedicate my time to the club as I feel I have never been able to fully commit to my club with Cork commitments. 

Cork captain Linda Collins leads her team before last year's All-Ireland camogie final loss to Galway at Croke Park. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
Cork captain Linda Collins leads her team before last year's All-Ireland camogie final loss to Galway at Croke Park. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

"I was home recently for a week, and I ended up playing a camogie and football league game with Courceys. I love nothing more than playing down in Courceys on a summer's evening.” 

She is kept abreast of all the news from the Courcey Rovers camp from her mother and the players, while she is also monitoring the progress of the Cork senior team from afar. She is confident renowned coach Davy Fitzgerald will be a ‘good addition’ to the Cork camogie setup this year. 

“I am very much keeping an eye on the progress of both Cork and Courcey Rovers. I’d be wishing Matthew and the girls the best of luck all the time. 

"I would love to see them doing well, knowing how much time and effort they put in. I would love to see them be rewarded for their dedication. My mom and the girls keep me updated on the Courceys camogie scene so I’m not out of the loop totally.

Davy will bring something new and having worked with men’s inter-county teams he will have a certain standard too. It’s very exciting for Cork camogie."

Cork has not won the O'Duffy Cup since 2018. Douglas club man Matthew Twomey is managing the Cork senior camogie team this year, having succeeded four-time All-Ireland-winning manager Paudie Murray. Matthew was previously involved with the inter-county team from 2014 to 2016 and came back into the fold in 2020.

Collins is full of praise for the new manager who acted as a selector under Murray. She said the manager ‘knows’ how to get the best out of players. 

“Matthew is great. He has a great bond with the girls and knows how to get the best out of them. I think they can have a successful year as they have a good mix of experience and youth.”

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