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'The way things are in Beara, girls my age don't play anymore'

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Cork senior star Áine Terry O'Sullivan

Cork senior star Áine Terry O'Sullivan

Cork senior star Áine Terry O'Sullivan

In the next six days, Cork senior star Áine Terry O'Sullivan will play three club championship football games for two different teams.

A native of Allihies on the west coast, O'Sullivan played her early football with Garnish GAA club, before graduating to tog out with Beara as an adult player. Their relegation from the Cork senior championship in 2016 meant O'Sullivan was eligible to represent the West Cork divisional side, and after tomorrow's intermediate outing for Beara, she'll play against All-Ireland club champions Mourneabbey for West Cork in the senior championship on Tuesday.

Adding further spice to the mix, tomorrow's intermediate opener has pitted Beara against another West Cork club, Rosscarbery, while their second game next Friday evening is an away trip to another neighbour, Bantry Blues.

Local rivalries will be sparked, parked and rekindled in the space of a few days, but for O'Sullivan, the chance to play senior football has been a huge benefit and honour.

"It was kind of funny starting off. When you are playing against each other you don't really get to know each other. It's hard to know what they're like away from the field, but we gelled really well though. There is always a bit of craic and there will be a bit of chat after Saturday, but it's a great environment to be involved in.

"It's a huge area and people tend to give out a bit about it. West Cork stretches from Inishannon down as far as Allihies. We are all intermediate and junior players but the talent out here is only getting better.

"There are nine or 10 of us from the West Cork panel that are on the Cork panel as well. After we were relegated I never thought I'd get to play in the senior championship. The way things are going with Beara, a lot of the girls my age don't play anymore.

"We are a very young team and I know we won't compete at senior, so to play with West Cork is huge. It has been a very positive experience for us."

While Mourneabbey have won the last two All-Ireland senior club titles, their biggest tests have arguably come at home. Two years ago, West Cork forced a replay in the final, but Mourneabbey edged the second game, while last year the champions needed a powerful surge in the second half to take the honours.

"Getting the chance to play against the likes of Mourneabbey is great. They are the team to beat in Cork the last few years but we have pushed them really close.

"The first day in 2018 is still a disappointment. We should have won on the day and we didn't get across the line in the replay either.

"Last year was a bit of a disaster, we had it won in the first half.

"We know each other well enough now and a lot of us know each other from the county team too.

"The younger girls on both teams will have played together underage with Cork too. We'll both be a bit rusty, and it's up in their home pitch, so it will be a bit of a journey for us, but we are looking forward to it."

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