St Colum's savour camogie success in Manchester

Victory over sides from Dublin, Liverpool, Glasgow and Manchester saw the West Cork club collect the cup
St Colum's savour camogie success in Manchester

West Cork LGFA and Camogie club St Colum’s who won the inaugural Fullen Gaels 9s Camogie one-day tournament Shield in Manchester.

WEST Cork LGFA and Camogie club St Colum’s returned as Shield winners from the inaugural Fullen Gaels 9s one-day tournament in Manchester.

The brainchild of Kealkill native and Manchester resident since 2013, Pio McCarthy, the first camogie and hurling 9s tournament proved a huge success.

McCarthy and his wife Linda, a Durrus native, moved to the UK ten years ago. During that time, Pio became heavily involved in his local (Manchester) GAA club Fullen Gaels before taking over as the Camogie team manager.

A decision to create a one-day Camogie and hurling blitz tournament inviting clubs from the Republic of Ireland and the UK had to be deferred due to Covid-19 in 2020.

The first-ever Manchester 9s, consisting of nine-a-side teams taking part in 20-minute matches, finally went ahead last month. The tournament proved to be a massive success despite a reduced number of participants.

Camogie clubs involved included St Colum’s (West Cork), Na Fianna (Dublin, two teams), Wolfe Tones (Liverpool), Ceann Creige (Glasgow) and host club Fullen Gaels (two teams).

Fr Murphy’s (London), Ceann Creige (Glasgow) and Fullen Gaels contested the one-day hurling 9’s competition.

Pio McCarthy’s connections with his hometown club resulted in a call being put into Tony Coppinger. The Kealkill GAA club and Carbery Camogie stalwart instantly accepted McCarthy’s invitation.

Cornelia McCarthy was one of the St Colum’s representatives who travelled to the UK for the one-day tournament.

“It was a long old day (tournament) but it absolutely flew by over in Manchester,” McCarthy said.

“Playing 9-a-side for just under 10 minutes a half meant it was tough going. There were a couple of GAA pitches booked on the day so a lot was going on. The tournament was very well organised though and a great, friendly atmosphere.” 

West Cork LGFA and Camogie club St Colum’s returning to Cork Airport after success in Manchester.
West Cork LGFA and Camogie club St Colum’s returning to Cork Airport after success in Manchester.

On the day, a palpable sense of Manchester’s community spirit saw Broughton Park RUFC allow visiting teams the use their dressing rooms and shower facilities.

Clonakilty (Black Pudding) Food Company’s sponsorship of the tournament’s breakfasts added a welcome taste of home for the visiting and resident Irish players.

Colum’s ended up competing in four round-robin matches before qualifying for the tournament’s Camogie Shield final.

It proved a memorable day all round as Fullen Gaels captured the Camogie 9s Perpetual Cup and St Colum’s took home the Perpetual Shield. London club Fr Murphy’s won the Hurling 9s Cup and Ceann Creige from Glasgow, the Hurling Shield.

“Every team played one another once and that decided who took part in the Cup and Shield semi-finals,” Cornelia McCarthy added.

“I must say, again, how well run a tournament it was on the day. It was the West Cork married couple of Pio and Linda McCarthy who organised everything and how we first found out about the tournament.

“We hadn’t played in a few months so there were plenty of sore bodies the morning after we won the Shield! St Colum’s took a panel of 12 players and coaches: Tony, Breda and Maureen Coppinger.

“The tournament acted as a pre-season bonding session for us and we really enjoyed the trip. It was a competitive tournament alright but there was a lovely, friendly vibe throughout the day.” 

The Coppinger name is synonymous with St Colum’s as evidenced by the three family mentors and two additional players, Annie and Nell, who took part.

Cork senior dual-star Libby is the most well-known of the Coppinger clan.

“Camogie is massive in St Colum’s and Libby has a lot to do with that,” Corny McCarthy said.

“Libby is a massive support to the club and is always helping around the place whenever she can. All the young girls living in the area look up to her.

“There are a lot of other camogie clubs in the West Cork area who don’t have a Cork senior or someone like Libby. They need all the help and recognition they can get to keep everything going.

“Winning the Fullen Gaels 9s Shield has been a massive boost for our camogie team. It has helped start off our season on a real high.

I never played camogie underage and started from scratch about five years ago. My teammates have been so supportive and helped me every step of the way.

“As for going back to Manchester, the St Colum’s panel was checking out flights for next year on the night of tournament! We are looking forward to returning in 2024.” 

St Colum’s 9’s Camogie panel: 

Eliza Wiseman, Lily O’Sullivan, Muireann Cronin, Margaret Murphy, Aisling Murnane, Rebecca Harrington, Aisling O’Driscoll, Maggie Coppinger, Emma O’Sullivan, Cornelia McCarthy, Annie Coppinger, Nell Coppinger.

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