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McSorley will have league final preparations off to a tee as Armagh prepare to face Wexford

Colette McSorley was persuaded by manager Mattie Lennon to return to the Armagh camogie panel after Covid-19 scuppered plans of travelling and playing golf
By Seamas McAleenan

Camogie: Littlewoods Ireland League Division Three final

GOLF, not camogie, was Colette McSorley’s main sporting focus five weeks ago. That was until she and Armagh manager Mattie Lennon had a conversation. On Saturday, she is likely to start for the Orchard county in the Littlewoods Ireland League Division Three final against Wexford in Donaghmore, Ashbourne.

“A couple of years ago I picked up an injury in a league game against Galway in the Athletic Grounds. After 15 years playing for the county, I just decided that was it. My time was done,” said the Tullysaran forward.

“2016 was a good year for us. We won the league title and reached the All-Ireland final. But we lost to Carlow and then Armagh fell into a kind of a rut. The numbers weren’t there. Morale was low and it just wasn’t enjoyable any more.

“All the Ulster counties seem to go through patches like that. Loughgiel stepped in a couple of years ago to finish Antrim’s inter-county programme and a member of the management team had to play so that Down could field in a National League game in 2018. Look where both of them are at the minute.”

After she made the break from the county, McSorley took up golf and caught the bug, while travel was also on her to-do list.

“I was enjoying golf and had plans to travel until Covid-19 turned those on their head," she said.

“When sport opened up again after Easter, everyone was invited to county trials. I just wasn’t interested and didn’t go. But Mattie got in touch and we had a conversation.

“I liked what I was hearing. I liked his style, his plans and I said I would give it a go. If I enjoyed it, I would stay.

“I felt that there wouldn’t be travelling this year anyway and the idea of a split season meant that I didn’t have to juggle club and county. The club has been understanding and encouraging.”

That was five weeks ago and the Tullysaran veteran was handed the No 14 jersey for Saturday’s league semi-final against Carlow. She responded with a goal and two points.

“After losing to Carlow in Croke Park five years ago, it was great to beat them at the weekend and it was good for my confidence to play a full game.”

Things are starting to add up now for the St Colman’s, Newry maths teacher.

“I’m enjoying everything about Armagh at the minute. Mattie and his management team are very thorough and training is really enjoyable.

“There is huge competition for places on the team and even on the bench. I can see a big improvement even over the five weeks I have been at training.”

Armagh lost to Wexford a couple of weeks ago in a group game that finished 0-15 to 1-14 with McSorley coming in as a sub to score a few points.

“We were slow to start in that game and had to play catch up. It wasn’t our best performance at all even though we scored 15 points.

“We are going to see more of Wexford this year as they are in our group in the championship. So it will be important to put down a marker on Saturday.”

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