Junior All-Ireland Club Final
Kinsale (Cork) V St Maur’s (Dublin)
Netwatch Cullen Park, 1pm
THE promotional drive behind Kinsale’s bid for a Junior All-Ireland title today is no surprise given the involvement of Aisling Judge.
Not only is she captaining the Cork champions against St Maur’s in Netwatch Cullen Park, the energetic 25-year-old is also the club’s chairperson. It’s been a busy few weeks given the logistical organisation in heading to Ballina a fortnight ago where they defeated Kilmoremoy of Mayo in the semi-final, but this past week Judge has made sure she’s taken a back seat.
“Usually it’s fine but the last two months have been mental!” Judge laughs.
“But there’s a great committee and the men’s GAA club have been hugely supportive given we’ve been a bit stretched the last few weeks. Other clubs in Cork even have been hugely supportive and it’s been a great experience.”
The committee she speaks of includes treasurer Mary Cronin and PRO Catherine Murphy, who has worked brilliantly in conjunction with the club’s camogie PRO Emma O’Callaghan to promote Saturday’s final. Among their ideas is the purchase of blue and white hats for supporters, the proceeds of which will go to Autism Ireland, says Judge, who works with Eli Lilly.
“When you see something like that, it’s a masterstroke. To spread the good feeling a bit further than just the team and the town, and to make a difference, it’s brilliant. Hopefully now we’ll be able to add the icing to the cake with a win.”
Having spent time playing with Holloway Gaels in London while studying for a Masters in Biochemical Engineering, Judge saw the importance of administration in the GAA, and when she returned home she took up the role as chairperson when asked. Not only that, but she offered to play in goal when the usual number one was injured, and so this is the former corner forward’s first year between the posts.
When you consider that she’s been playing since the club’s inception, it’s all the more impressive, having been on the first Kinsale U12 team alongside Cork senior star Orla Finn. But sport runs in the family, with Judge’s mother Maureen an avid badminton player, and her uncle Con Harrington involved in soccer circles.
And although Judge has also proven her prowess off the field in terms of administration, winning the junior All-Ireland club title against St Maur’s in Carlow today is what it’s all about.
Having lost last year’s Cork Junior Championship final to Bantry Blues – who went on to lose the 2015 All-Ireland final – Kinsale are hoping to go one better. A lot has changed in 12 months, and Judge believes it boils down to experience and their improved physicality.
“It was heartbreak losing last year. We were beaten by a good Bantry team and it was an eye opener that we had to improve because we saw the standard needed to win.
“We met in February and management asked us what we wanted and we all said ‘the county’. To make the final two years in-a-row is a challenge in itself but we were so determined. We’re a year old and wiser.
“We’ve upped the intensity too. We were a softer team last year and we did more tackle bags this time out. When you’re at this level you see it in the fine margins. In the Munster final for example we weren’t playing as fluid as usual, but the win came down to pure grit and determination, and it stood to us.”
Kinsale will look to the likes of Finn and Sadbh O’Leary upfront, however defenders Georgina Buckley, Georgia Gould, Tracey McCarthy and midfielder Lorraine Copithorne will be equally key if Michael O’Connor’s side are to claim their first junior All-Ireland, and Cork’s first since Clonakilty in 2009.
Meanwhile, tomorrow sees reigning champions Donaghmoyne of Monaghan, who defeated Mourneabbey in the semi-final, take on Foxrock-Cabinteely in the senior final at 2.45pm in Parnell Park. It is hoped that there will be deferred coverage of the game on TG4 at 3.30pm.
December 3, 2016