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Scariff Ogonnelloe players show their jubilation after their epic second half comeback against Inagh-Kilnamona in the senior Camogie semi final. Photograph by Eugene McCafferty Scariff Ogonnelloe 2-14 Inagh-Kilnamona 2-11

Backroom alterations haven’t dimmed Scariff-Ogonnelloe focus

Sarah Skelly was part of the panel when Scariff-Ogonnelloe made that unpredecented charge through Clare and Munster in 2019.

Having been there from the start of the amalgamation’s development from intermediate to senior, her experience is now required to carry the torch at management level alongside manager Alphie Rodgers and Pat Minogue after last year’s county and provincial winning backroom team headed by David Sullivan opted to step down following their All-Ireland Semi-Final reverse in February.

It means that despite their unbridled success, Scariff-Ogonnelloe’s senior squad are playing under their third different management in as many years but still managed to successfully navigate their way back to a third final in four seasons.

“It’s never easy to get back to the final and particularly this year as last year’s management stepped down quite late after our All-Ireland Semi-Final loss against Oulart-The-Ballagh.” commenced selector Skelly.

“So it understandably took us a while to try and gather ourselves and our agenda for the non-county league was just to to survive and not get relegated as at that point, we didn’t even have a management structure in place. We were just relying on some of the older players to step up and get us through with a kind of interim management in place.

“Once Alphie [Rodgers] was ratified and he got his management in place, the target was to get back to the county final but it definitely wasn’t a given. After all, we’d be relative newcomers to the acclaim of winning county titles as our first senior title only came in 2019 so it’s not like it’s bred into any of us by any means.

“That said, the younger players coming through have definitely been more successful than the older players that have been at it for the last ten or 15 years.

“The younger players probably brought a sense of belief to the team, having won numerous underage medals but the blend of youth and experience is one of the main ingredients in our success so far.”

Another key component has been their maturity and game management, something which Skelly feels will be a prerequisite once more if they are to fend off a scorned Truagh-Clonlara.

“The management can only go so far in preparing a team to win, at this level it’s largely up to the players to manage thing on the field becuase if they haven’t the same cohesion as in previous matches, we simply aren’t going to get over the line.

“That will be needed as Truagh as we’ve seen time and time again, simply don’t go down. We went ahead in that first final last year but they simply came at us and came at us and it was the same in the replay as they were swarming all over us in the first 15 or 20 minutes and it was an immense job in itself just to try to keep their attack at bay.

“They are a ferocious side, they have fanstastic skillful players and it will be another titanic battle.”

Of that, it is no doubt, with perhaps Cusack Park the fitting stage to host such a gladatorial battle.

“When word came through last week that the final would be played in Cusack Park, I think it was finally validation and recognition of camogie. Finally we’re getting to play in a field that every boy and girl strives to play in.

“I mean we’ve probably played in every field in the county bar Cusack Park so we are grateful now to be given that opportunity so let’s hope that we can make the most of it on Saturday.”

About Eoin Brennan

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