Only pride at stake for Derry camogie players, but commitment order of the day
Derry have nothing at stake but pride on Sunday as they take on a Clare team fighting desperately to grab the last qualifying place from Group 2 of the Liberty Insurance senior camogie championship but that will be sufficient to guarantee a committed effort.
The Oak Leafers are chasing their first win of the campaign but are coming off a determined effort against Dublin, who finished third in the group after being pushed to within four points in Swatragh last Saturday.
Gráinne O’Kane has been one of Derry’s leading players in defence this year and the Slaughtneil player, who won an All-Ireland minor B camogie medal in 2010, encapsulates perfectly what donning the famed red and white jersey means to her.
“It is definitely a massive achievement and a great achievement to be coming into such a good Derry panel” says O’Kane.
“Missing out last year just made me more eager and more keen to come in this year, full of enthusiasm and hoping to do well.
“It means everything. It’s a great sense of pride pulling on the jersey that great players before me have worn. Trying to fill their boots is the hard part.”
While there is plenty of experience in the panel, a number of young players have come through as well and operating in the rarefied atmosphere of senior camogie is sure to stand to them in the long run according to O’Kane.
Taking Clare’s scalp would be the ideal conclusion to the season for them especially, enabling them to look forward to 2016 with positivity.
“Coming through playing senior level is a complete new standard of camogie… for the younger players.
“We’ve a lot of new players trying to get their confidence built up. (You need to be) always setting your goals as high as you can and meeting those targets and goals after every game.”