COROFIN were heartbroken to have lost two Clare intermediate camogie finals in succession and their determination to bring that crown to the parish has led to unbelievable commitment from all involved in 2010. That’s according to the team captain Aislinn Kelleher, one of three sisters hoping to have All-Ireland medals come Sunday evening.
A primary school teacher at Stonehall in Newmarket-on-Fergus, Aislinn has been playing camogie since she was eight years of age and attending Kilnaboy National School. She went on to play with Coláiste Muire in Ennis, NUI Galway and at different levels with Clare.
“The county title was our main target this year. After the heartbreak of losing successive finals, there was a fear that it might be hard to come back but the commitment from all has been unbelievable. Just last week, one of the panel travelled from Belfast for training on Wednesday evening before returning, while another travelled from Mayo. Winning the Clare title was all we wanted from the start of the season and everything was geared toward that,” Aislinn explained.
“After the Clare final, we took a break before getting back to prepare for the Munster campaign. We were lucky in that we went straight into the final, where a tremendous second half proved decisive. We realised then that we were in a bigger competition,” the captain said.
“Having the All-Ireland semi-final at home was really amazing. Everyone came on board and helped out. The GAA club has been fantastic and has helped in every way. Everyone put in a huge effort in decorating the village and there are pictures on display on shop windows. It is something we never imagined would happen,” explained Aislinn, who went on to say that she is honoured to be the team captain. “It’s a very easy job, as we have leaders all over the field,” she said.
If Corofin are to be crowned All-Ireland champions on Sunday, she said they will have to concentrate on starting well and maintaining that for an hour.
“We have a tendency to start poorly and play well in the second half. We will have to hurl all out for 60 minutes if we are to bring this title home. They are a tough, physical and very experienced side and they won’t want to be beaten at this stage for a second time. We are facing a very stiff test but I have every faith in our girls,” Aislinn said.
She believes there was more pressure on the team to win on home ground last time out. “I know that the supporters will travel to Athenry. Support is vital and has a lot to do with winning,” she said.
“The success the club is enjoying this year is great for the club and is inspiring the young players to be involved. It’s like Clare in the ’90s, when hurling took over after the winning of the All-Ireland titles. We have a strong underage section and it’s important for us to build on that and secure our future.
“Lots of our team are involved with the promotion of indoor training for the young girls on Tuesdays and there is a tremendous atmosphere there because of the success of our team. We could not have dreamed of this but it will be disappointing now not to go all the way. We are getting hungrier,” Aislinn said.
The team captain believes this success has been on the cards. “We are fortunate to have had great men involved with the club in recent years. People like Micheál O’Halloran, Oliver O’Loughlin senior, John Kelleher, Kieran Carkill and Michael Ryan have been superb and, of course, our current management of Ollie O’Loughlin and Pa Ryan, who have given a tremendous commitment over the past three years,” she said.
On Sunday, her sisters Siobhán and Caitriona and her cousin Muireann will join Aislinn as they go in search of All-Ireland glory.
The panel also includes the Shannon sisters, Niamh and Aisling, the McMahon sisters, Linda and Caitriona, and the Davoran sisters, Aoife and Maeve.
“It’s a huge occasion for Corofin parish and for our camogie club. We know we face a huge task but such is the commitment and dedication of our panel that I am confident the team will do the parish and our county proud,” she concluded.