SCARIFF-Ogonnelloe full-back Marian O’Brien started out the season taking charge of the strength and conditioning programme for the team. Having retired from competitive camogie three years ago, she had no intention of returning as a player.
A community sports development officer by occupation, she ended up playing when the team was short of players. Now she’s goiong to line out in an All-Ireland final.
“It’s great and I am loving it. I never thought we would be back in another All-Ireland final. We started in January with a focus on what we wanted to achieve. We have worked very hard; a massive commitment, which has brought us this far. We have a good fitness level and a good strength and conditioning level. We are now concentrating on our skill level ahead of the final,” she said.
An All-Star nominee in 2013, O’Brien won senior shield, intermediate and league titles in 2013, All-Ireland Sevens in the same year and was part of the Munster junior club winning team in 2013 and 2016, while she was part of the Clare team that won the Munster senior title a few years ago.
She believes the arrival of a number of younger players into the squad this year has strengthened the panel.
“The younger girls push the older ones to fight for their places, which is fantastic. There are great numbers at training and everyone has to fight for the jersey. There are some very talented younger players coming through over the next few years, which makes the future very promising and exciting.
“We have a panel of 25 and we focus on our own game. It’s 15 versus 15 every day you go out and our plan is to go hell for leather,” said O’Brien, who prefers playing against opposition from outside the county. “It’s harder to play local games, as we know most of the players and they know us.”
She admits that while there are some evenings at this time of year when a player would not feel like training, she said, “Any girl that doesn’t bother training when the team is in an All-Ireland club final is on the wrong panel. We want to win and to achieve. We all really want this and we will do all we can to get over the line.
By sports editor Seamus Hayes