Donal Corkery on the long road to Muskerry glory for Aghinagh

'I would have always said if we had a Mid Cork won already, I probably wouldn’t be playing'
Donal Corkery on the long road to Muskerry glory for Aghinagh

Aghinagh players David Barry and Donal Corkery after defeating Ballincollig in the Ross Oil Muskerry JAFC final at Macroom. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

BRIEGE CORKERY won an incredible 18 All-Ireland medals between ladies football and camogie in the Cork colours during her playing career.

Now, following the historic first Mid Cork Championship title success for Aghinagh, another medal has been added to the sensational total amassed by the Corkery family.

On what was a memorable occasion in the Castle Grounds in Macroom, Donal Corkery featured as Aghinagh secured Muskerry glory by defeating Ballincollig in the decider.

A few months on from that memorable night, Aghinagh are still very much basking in the glow of their Muskerry success. For someone that has played adult football with Aghinagh for close to 20 years, for the 38-year-old Corkery, this championship success meant an awful lot.

Corkery recalled the significance of the achievement and how much it means to everyone at Aghinagh.

“We were a long time waiting for it. There is a great feeling looking back on it now. On the night itself, it was nearly a relief more than joy. But looking back on it now, you can really enjoy it after waiting for so long.

“I would have always said over the last few years if we had a Mid Cork won already, I probably wouldn’t be playing. But it was I suppose a real monkey on the back of everyone in the parish that we hadn’t won it.

 Jerry O'Connor, Boherbue, tackled by Donal Corkery, Aghinagh. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Jerry O'Connor, Boherbue, tackled by Donal Corkery, Aghinagh. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

“Finally it was achieved. It was a long road, but I was one of the lucky ones to achieve it. As I said earlier, there were a lot better footballers than me that never won one with Aghinagh, some of them were very unlucky.

“We always would have had good supporters and in fairness to them they stuck with us in the bad times as well. They suffered a long time with us, so it was nice to be able to give them something to celebrate on that night in November.

That was one of the big things, that I always wanted to try and win it for a number of supporters there who you’d see at every league game or even practice game. 

"So it was nice that they got to see it as well.”

In the final itself, a competitive duel was played out on that November night. The second-string outfit of Ballincollig gave it absolutely everything.

But Aghinagh were men on a mission, producing an all-around determined collective display and also seeing Liam Twohig in sensational scoring form, scoring 1-11 on the night.

“There are a number of strong second teams in Mid Cork and Ballincollig have been very strong over the last few years. A handful of years ago, they gave us a good beating in a quarter-final stage. Ballincollig last year beat some very strong teams along the way.

“We hit a bit of a purple patch there for a few weeks and with the condensed championship with Covid, you can easily hit a bit of form there one month and the following month you mightn’t be going as well.

“We just about escaped with injuries as well. So that kind of all fell well for us on the night.

“We had a poor year in 2020 and lost poorly in the championship to Inniscarra. There was a new manager brought in from Aghabullogue, Danny Buckley, and in fairness to him, he turned things around and he did a great job with us.

“In fairness to the lads as well, they trained very hard over the lockdown in the first half of last year and came back in very good nick.

“We had mixed results over the summer. But Danny had put a good programme in place all during the year and we hit the form right and timed in nicely.”

ONE-HIT WONDERS

Once the time comes around for the 2022 campaign, Aghinagh will very much hope to mount another Mid Cork championship challenge.

“We will be kicking off there soon enough with training. But there is a good feeling about the place. We might be losing one player from the panel, but other than that we’ll hold onto everybody else.

There is a feeling that we would like to give it another crack I suppose and not just to be seen as one-hit wonders.”

Aghinagh waited 73 years to secure the Muskerry JAFC crown. You can be sure players like Donal Corkery will be forever remembered in the parish for being the team that made history.

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