There may be fresh voices on the sideline but as Newmarket-on-Fergus manager Cathal Kilmartin has become keenly aware of in his debut season, there’s also a ‘burning desire’ within the players themselves to wrestle back the McMahon Cup for the fifth time in eight years this Saturday.
“It’s my first year involved with the senior camogie team and there are a quite impressive bunch of girls who have achieved a massive amount over the last number of years. So we’re all delighted to be back in a county final and to have the opportunity to rectify last year’s result.
“In fairness, when we sat down at the start of the year, we didn’t dwell too much on last year’s final defeat but the burning desire is basically to get back and win the McMahon Cup and that has been the main objective from the start of the year.
“We’re one step away from that now and that comes down to having a committed and motivated bunch of players but also a great management around me as I have been so lucky to have a backroom team that has been hugely supportive and influential in terms of getting us to where we are this Saturday.”
So far, it’s a title apiece for Newmarket and Inagh-Kilnamona heading into this Saturday’s decisive trilogy, with the Blues clinging to their title in 2015 after a defiant comeback won the day in extra-time before the Combo claimed their first ever title last October thanks to a late brace of Helen Hehir goals.
“Hopefully the sequence is that we win next.” quipped Kilmartin.
“Look, we have huge respect for Inagh-Kilnamona as they have a massive amount of talent, are reigning county champions and will go into Saturday’s final as deserved favourites having also beaten us in the league during the year so we know that we have a massive test in front of us if we want to win back the trophy.”
With a healthy panel of 34 at his disposal, Kilmartin and his backroom team of Carol Toomey, John McInerney, Davy McCormack and Brendan Mullins are also looking to the future viability of the club as a senior force, having already garnered eight titles since 2001.
“In fairness, the club have always had the structure based around the development of players and we have a lot of young players on the panel that will get huge experience from playing and training alongside the likes of Roisin McMahon and Carol O’Leary. We’ve five on the county panel so it’s great to have a big panel of players that will grow and establish themselves in the coming years.”
“But have no doubt that we’re also out to win on Saturday. We’ve worked on a few areas that will hopefully give us the edge this time but it’s very marginal and comes down to the day as to who performs best. Small margins could decide this final whether that’s a sideline ball or a quick goal so it will be tight and we know that but we just hope to keep our focus and have the edge on the day.”