By Michael McMullan
KATIE McCloskey is hoping St Patrick’s, Maghera can learn from their All-Ireland senior final defeat ahead of Saturday’s junior decider against Loreto, Kilkenny.
The Ahoghill player picked up Ulster junior and senior medals this year but missed out on the All-Ireland against a strong Loreto side last month.
“The final with the seniors, it showed us the side of defeat,” she said at last week’s media day.
“We don’t want to lose the Junior so it has given us a bit more drive and strength to play better in our final and give us a better chance.
“There was no time for (dwelling on) the defeat. After the senior All-Ireland, we were back in training with the juniors, so we fixed the things that went wrong.”
Virtually the entire team were part of the senior squad with captain Cait Conway, Eimear Murray, Ellie Griffin and Caoimhe Chambers starting on both teams.
“There is plenty of excitement going around and everyone is loving it,” McCloskey said of the build-up in both competitions since the school bell tolled after the Christmas
“It is busy at the minute with all the training,” she said of a programme that included training over the holidays and a team bonding trip to Dublin.
“Winning Ulster stuck out a lot,” she added. “Once the final whistle went in the Ulster final and we looked forward, we realised we could go for the All-Ireland.”
“As Mrs Scott (senior team manager) said, every single girl has a fire that they can’t take out. If one girl goes down, the rest will come up for that girl…I definitely think we can win.”
There are still lessons to be learned from the semi-final win over Gort and McCloskey is stressing the importance of her team getting off to a quick-fire start and reflecting on their 4-12 to 3-9 win.
“We have learned that we can’t do the same thing and we have to go out stronger. I think we have definitely picked up on the things we did wrong so hopefully that will help going into the final.”