By Naimh Magee
Having played the part of spectator in her clubs win over Slaughtneil in 2015, Loughgiel camog Roisin McCormick is entering her third Ulster final as a panel member (she came on as a sub in the 2017 decider) and her second in the starting fifteen on Sunday. Roisin made her debut on the senior team in that 2017 final while still playing u16 and minor, having had a very successful underage campaign winning the Feile twice and captaining the squad in her last year.
Playing Slaughtneil in the final for the fifth year in a row and seeing what the Derry champions have achieved since Loughgiel’s last win in 2015 Roisin and her team mates are hoping to deprive the champions of the win this year, and scupper their chances of going for the history making fourth All Ireland Club Camogie win.
“What Slaughtneil have done is a massive achievement. We’re going out there with the mentality that we’re going to win and with all guns blazing to do our best to do that. Slaughneil have a great team and Kate McEldowney has been playing out of her skin this season so we know it’s going to be very, very tough. They have some amazing players but we know we can match them on our day, even if we don’t have just as many experienced girls on the pitch”
“The girls coming through have a lot of experience, we were strong at u16 and minor but playing senior is a completely different game – its alot more intense. The game is a lot faster and the opponents are a lot bigger and stronger than what you’re used to playing at younger age groups’
“Playing with Cross and Passion College has been a massive benefit for the girls who were involved in that team. Playing girls from Kilkenny and other counties, where the camogie style is more like hurling is a massive advantage going in to games like Sunday.”
Losing players is in the nature of team sports and camogie teams are no different. How Loughgiel have adapted and introduced their younger girls in to their senior team is going to be important to how they perform on Sunday.
“We’ve lost 6 players from last seasons team which have been massive losses, but the senior girls that are on the panel are great at leading the younger players. This year there is only about 4 or 5 girls who are full Seniors so were very young in comparison to some teams. Losing six girls this season has put us at a disadvantage but the girls that have come into play have stepped up and are great replacements. Raquel McCarry at full forward was a massive scorer for us and Laura Connolly was one of the best full backs I’ve played with which helps settle the nerves on big game days like Sunday. They will be badly missed but we have added some great replacements”
Commitments are hard to work round especially playing in the winter when university and school timetables come into play for many of the girls, but teams find ways to work around them.
“Travelling up and down from College in Dublin has been tough especially with the six week wait between the county final and Ulster final. We’ve been playing challenge matches which have kept us sharp and we’re ready for Sunday we just have to hope that the result goes our way this time. We’ve done all that we can do to prepare for this and we just have to go out and prove it”