By Niall Gartland
MORALE is high among the Crosserlough camogs heading into their Ulster Championship preliminary round clash against Glen this weekend, says their manager Michael Carr.
Last year’s Senior Championship final defeat to Laragh United in Cavan was a bitter pill to swallow, and a somewhat unexpected result, but they made amends with a win over the same opposition last month. Obviously it wasn’t just about proving a point, but of all their recent Senior Championship wins, it must’ve been one of the most satisfying.
Galway native Carr, who had a previous stint as manager of the Cavan hurlers, knows exactly what went wrong last year but that’s all in the past now.
“Things just didn’t go to plan. I was late getting involved as their previous management team had let them down, so it was midway through the season when I took over.
“It was a great change for the girls, my ideas of how we should do things were a bit different and it’s taken this season to get them playing the way I wanted.
“It was a big disappointment against Laragh last year, they didn’t perform to near their ability, but it’s been a totally different attitude this year and things were really well for us in Cavan.”
Not only did Crosserlough regain their senior title, but they also bettered Laragh in the Cavan Junior Championship final. It suggests exactly what you might assume it suggests – that this is a camogie club in rude health.
“There are good numbers to be fair. We’ve a few young girls playing senior for us this year who are new to it, like Christina Charters and Aine Smith, they’re very promising players.
“At junior level it’s the same story, there’s a few more players who are also showing plenty of promise, like Fiona Finnegan and Niamh Shalvey. They’re really starting to show what they can do and it bodes well for the future.”
Crosserlough won Ulster Junior titles in 2017 and 2018, but they won’t be getting carried away with themselves heading into this year’s competition as they’re coming up against a formidable Glen side who won last year’s crown.
“We’re not thinking too far down the line, the girls are fully focused on the Glen match.
“Last year I think they looked ahead of themselves too much but this year they’re taking it one step at a time. Glen are a physical, strong outfit, I’ve seen them play. There’s a different style of play in Ulster than in Cavan, it’s a more physical game than we’re used to but we’re well prepared and hopefully it’ll go well.”
One slight annoyance is the fact they’ve had a five-week gap to prepare for this game, which is arguably an excessively long wait.
“It is a bit too much. The Cavan Championship may have started a bit early this year to accommodate the split season structured, but it’s hard to keep things going with such a long wait.
“It’s difficult to get challenge matches when others are in the midst of their championships, but morale has been good which is always the case when you’re winning games.”