Laura Treacy stares into the distance, a deadly serious and contemplative look on her face, the epitome of a woman in her athletic prime and not to be disturbed.
he is to the left of Amy O’Connor and Amy Lee, both of whom are equally thrilled by something in the distance and seem to consider quantum mechanics or the meaning of life.
The scene takes place during a promotional photo shoot to mark the announcement of Kearys Motor Group as sponsor of Cork Camogie and the resulting shot is imposed on the manager, Matthew Twomey’s van, now parked at the side of the Blackrock County land.
“I would say Matthew is stared at every day going down The Link [South Link Road]. You’re not afraid of not spotting it anyway!
Increasing visibility is a positive and one of the many things that has changed since he joined the Cork team ten years ago. One of the most striking changes is a different manager for the first time, although Twomey is a familiar figure in the setup.
Coach Davy Fitzgerald is brand new and his appointment has made headlines. He settled in well, helping the Rebels return to the All-Ireland final again, 12 months after their three-point loss to Galway.
But there’s no Paudie Murray, the man who introduced her to the team in her first season as manager in 2012, or her revered manager brother Kevin.
“Paudie Murray had me, when I think about it, 16 for being 17 that year. I was two years minor, so I was playing minor that year and had another year to play minor again. It seems like a lifetime ago. It’s my 11th season now so it’s weird.
“There has been a slight change this year. Davy came in, Matthew became manager but there are still a lot of similar faces. teddy [Donovan]is still there, Neilser’s [Niall Collins] still there, Matthew is obviously there. It feels a bit like a bit of continuity but at the same time a bit of freshness too.
While the two-time All-Star and four-time All-Ireland winner owes so much to Murray, the Killeagh defender is adamant the game of camogie owes a similar debt to the St Finbarr man in terms of elevation standards and creating an elite environment. a performance. He also expanded the tactical palette which was very orthodox, while the rest of the Gaelic codes had evolved.
“We learned so much from Paudie Murray. I give high credits to Paudie Murray for bringing the game, I personally think. Camogie in general, over the past ten years. He raised that standard himself, brought us with it, and then other teams had to follow.
“Galways and Kilkennys have always guarded us. I would give as much credit to Paudie. He was phenomenal as a manager. His backroom team were always A1s. He got the best of the best. His brother Kevin Murray [as coach]what we learned from him was incredible.
“But people are moving on, they’re getting new jobs and new people are always stepping in and new voices are always nice too.”
She’s the oul’ wan now.
” How did it happen ? she exhales, wrinkling her face in mock horror. “I will say Ashling [Thompson] she’s still five years older than me for her to have that record.
To be fair, Treacy will only turn 27 later this year, but there’s nothing she hasn’t seen. The fearlessness of youth is gone. But she can provide that gentle helping hand or that word that the legends of old provided her with.
“I feel I have a lot of experience at this stage, especially seeing the younger ones coming in, like Méabh Murphy, who is the bone of 18, 19. Orlaith Cahalane, a minor this year. I remember when I was that age. It’s several moons ago at this point.
“It’s completely different. My first All Ireland in 2014, I was 18 and 19 and a bábóg. I was so small, small in stature, but I was given a job. I remember Matthew Twomey was involved that year and for the semi-final and final I remember Matthew and Paudie were talking to me.
“I particularly remember having marked Ursula Jacob in the semi-final at Thurles. They said to me, “Ursula Jacob usually gets x number of possessions per game” – I think it was seven or eight – “but she tends to score from them. If you can count down from seven or eight; you flipped it once, you only have seven left. You flipped it, then you blocked it, now there are only five left.
“Now I take care of myself and focus a lot on that before the big games, but I also make sure the girls around me are okay. Because, Gemma O’Connor, Aoife Murray, Orla Cotter, the likes of these girls always took care of me when I was that age Watching me, always being there on the pitch as an option for me if I was on the ball So I try to do that for the most Girls.
Arriving as a corner defender when the current chiseled frame had yet to be sculpted, Treacy then moved to full-back when Anna Geary retired. Center back has always been her natural habitat and she is now the reigning All-Star in the pivot position.
“I’ve been a full-back for longer than expected. I never expected to play full-back for Cork’s senior camo team and of course I’d play anywhere to wear the Cork shirt. , but the central defender is completely different.
“You seem to be more involved in the game and bonding a bit more with the players and the ability to go forward maybe a bit more as well. So I like the centre-back.”
She don’t promise the rake points to the Gemma O’Connor happier to maintain role as defensive anchor and supply Katrina Mackey, Sorcha McCartan, Amy O’Connor et al.
Kilkenny were the opponents in their first All-Ireland in 2014. Only Mackey and Ashling Thompson remain in the Cork squad, although Joanne Casey is involved in the middles and the player she came on for in injury time, the legendary Jenny Curry. [née O’Leary] is back for Armagh in the first junior final.
Claire Phelan, Denise Gaule, Katie Power and Miriam Walsh survive for the Cats, while Emma Kavanagh and Leann Fennelly remain on the panel. They know each other well.
“Thinking back to the All-Irelands many moons ago, even in 2016 when they beat us, they still have a lot of those players and so do we. So we’re quite used to each other.
“We know what Kilkenny brings. They bring that absolute dogfight. They’re serious stalkers. They won’t let you pass easily and they work really hard at the simple things. It’s a big ask for us to match that. , I guess, but we have to do it if we have a chance of winning this game.
“Throughout the year we’ve been hit with injuries, losing players like Orla Cronin to injury and stuff, so we’ve had to fight a lot and also dig deep to win games. This character is there.
“We showed it again against Waterford, but if you can’t show that character for the full 60 minutes or the immense work rate, we won’t get the win.”