THE stats confirm what long-time Carlow camogie player, Kate Nolan, is saying. Carlow camogie is in a good place and players are anxious to play for their county. As happens in counties around the country and in other disciplines, a new manager can get more from players than previous incumbents. That is not to criticise what has gone before. It happens.
“Training is really enjoyable and it means so much to wear the Carlow jersey. Hopefully this will continue for the rest of the year,” says Kate, ahead of the team meeting Armagh on Saturday in the VERY Camogie League Division 3A final in Darver (Throw in at 3pm).
And what do the stats say? They reveal that 31 players have lined out for Carlow in the four competitive games played this year. 16 of those have featured on the scoreboard. In times past, there was a huge dependency on Ciara Quirke but the scoring responsibility is spread a lot more evenly now.
For example, Eleanor Treacy is the county’s leading scorer with 0-18. Quirke, Ali Ruschitzko and Rebecca Kelly have accounted for 2-4, 1-8 and 1-7 respectively in four games. So far the Division 3 league has not tested Carlow and they have won all their games by at least 12 points.
“We are going really well. Our manager, Peter Chap Cleere, has set a good standard at the start of the year and there is a great belief in the team. There are good numbers training and it is great to have almost every club represented,” acknowledged Kate who says the Kilkenny man has an infectious personality which is lifting everyone.
“From the very first phone call I got from Chap there was a great sense of enthusiasm and you could really hear the positivity coming from him. The players are reacting and are putting in good shifts. Even if they cannot make training, they are making up for it by doing work on their own. There is a great vibe and Chap has a lot to do with that.”
With the big numbers in training, Nolan accepts that this can sometimes be problematic. The management team can only pick fifteen and use only five subs. Those who don’t feature on the day can be disappointed. Nolan says Cleere is handling this well.
“It shows how good a manager is when he can keep players interested and encourage them to keep coming training. The manager has a tough job this year but it is great to be so competitive. Along the way he has given players chances and there is a buy-in from everybody. It makes it so much easier and to see the buy-in from the girls and to see girls coming back (who were not in the panel last year) is brilliant.”
Kate herself is living in Dublin and after a year out from intercounty duty she is back now. It means having to commute up and down.
“We have great numbers training and obviously we have a young panel. Some players are away and maybe working in Dublin but training is grand. The numbers are still good and girls are getting their own training in. As long as players are doing that you are happy enough.”
She cannot put a year on when she made her senior debut for the county.
“A long time. To be honest, I don’t know. I think it was in 2012 when we won the junior B All-Ireland so it is over 10 years now. There were one or two years I couldn’t commit but I love playing. Happy out,” she says.
Carlow v Armagh
VERY Division 3 Camogie League Final
Saturday 8 April, Darver, 3pm
By Kieran Murphy