Hurling and camogie

Corcoran hoping Cavan can stay the distance in All-Ireland championship race

Aine Corcoran joined up with the Cavan team after their Division Three success but is playing a part in their All-Ireland Premier Junior Championship
Séamas McAleenan

Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Premier Junior Championship Group Two: Mayo v Cavan (tomorrow, Westport, 4pm)

ÁINE Corcoran’s invitation to join the Cavan camogie team came on the back of her performances with Drumgoon who are the reigning Cavan junior champions. However, Corcoran, a physiotherapy student in UUJ, was on placement in the RVH in Belfast for the first two months of this year and didn’t link up with the squad until after they won Division Three of the league.

“I came in just in time to see them lose their first match. Talk about bringing them luck,” jokes Corcoran, who is on an athletics scholarship in Jordanstown.

Corcoran won national middle distance titles with her club while a student in Eureka Secondary school in Kells and is still hoping to make the breakthrough to wear the green vest.

“I have been concentrating on athletics for the past few years and playing some camogie when I am home in the summer and autumn. Athletics has been a bit frustrating alright. There is a lot of competition at the moment in middle distance running and I have just decided to take a break from it for a while, enjoy the camogie and maybe get back to running later in the year.”

Cavan lost the Ulster semi-final to Antrim around a week after Corcoran linked up with the squad. It has been their only defeat this season.

“After winning the league and beating Antrim along the way, it was a bit of wake-up call for us alright. We didn’t expect it. But it has been a blessing in disguise. I know it is a bit of a cliché, but you learn more from your defeats than your victories.

“I was very impressed how professional the Cavan set up is. It is great to be involved at that level, the amount of preparation and how hard the team works.

“Right through the league and again with the past two games in the championship, we have been winning by small margins. Skill can take you close, but it is the work-rate that keeps you winning those games. We work hard until the very end and it has paid off for us.”

When Corcoran eventually got to play in the team it was in the first championship game down in Tipperary and it had particular significance for the Drumgoon forward, who scored 1-2 in the 2-9 to 1-11 victory.

“My father is from Borriskeane and would have taken underage hurling teams down there before we moved up to Cavan. A few of the cousins met up with him at the game and there was a bit of banter. I think he had mixed emotions after we won.

“But that game showed me that this team means business. We were in no way intimidated going down to Tipp who would have a bigger reputation than Cavan in camogie or hurling. And our work-rate took us through.

“It was the same the next game against Waterford, although that one was in Kilnaleck.

“There is a good buzz in the squad at the minute. We have players coming back in after injury like Ciara Finnegan, Róisín O’Keefe and they have given us a boost coming into a few hard games.”

Cavan play Mayo this weekend in Westport. Mayo followed Cavan to the Nancy Murray title last year and are also an up and coming force.

“They went to Waterford and gave them a bit of a scare down there. So we can’t take anything for granted. The Antrim game taught us that. We will be going down there hoping that we can bring our A game on to the park.”

With middle distance running there are targets to meet along the way before you can come around the final bend and see the finish line. Corcoran sees the same overall plan for this camogie championship.

“It sounds simple, but Cavan needed to win all their group games one by one to reach the league final. We want to be in Croke Park at the start of August. We need to win each game along the way otherwise we won’t be there. A win in Westport will keep us on track.”

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