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Galway camogie star and doctor unsure if inter-county action will take place in 2020

‘I don’t think anyone can predict what the winter will bring,’ says Catriona Cormican.

Galway's Catriona Cormican.
Galway's Catriona Cormican.

GALWAY CAMOGIE STAR Catriona Cormican is still unsure if inter-county championships will take place later this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Cormican, who works as a GP in Galway city, was part of the Tribe side that delivered the All-Ireland camogie crown last September and remains hopeful they’ll be able to defend their title later this winter. 

But the 32-year-old says it’s impossible to predict how things will transpire for the remainder of the year.

“If I could predict that far ahead I would be very rich. I don’t think there is anyone in the world who can tell us what December is going to be like, what November is going to be like. I can’t tell you what two weeks are going to be like.

“We really have to take it week by week. I would be really hopeful and I would really love to have a championship in the winter. But we all know what the winter brings normally regardless of Covid. A lot of chest infections, coughs and colds.

“I suppose we have to be mindful of that as well. It is really taking it week by week. I don’t think anyone can predict what the winter will bring. We have to just hold tight and not look too far ahead. Take it as it is.” 

She admitted her disappointment at the government’s decision not to increase the crowd limits at GAA grounds beyond 200 people but says experts’ advice must be heeded.

“The club supporter in me was really hoping that the numbers would increase,” she said.

“I’ve watched a lot of matches online, I’ve been streaming them and looking at the empty stadiums and you would feel would it not be possible and safe to social distance higher numbers.

“But I suppose a lot of thought went into these guidelines and maybe they felt that people would be gathering in clusters, they wouldn’t be spreading out. You know, going into stadiums, people crowded going into the turnstiles, bathrooms and stuff like that.

“I know it’s disappointing and as a club supporter I’m very disappointed I won’t be able to go to the games. But, if it means it’s for the safety of the supporters and the benefit of their health, then we just have follow those guidelines and hope in the next few weeks that things will change and the numbers will increase.

“For now, we just have to hold tight and follow what the experts are advising.”

Screenshot 2020-08-05 at 3.04.19 p.m. Catriona Cormican is appearing in AIB's 'The Toughest Summer' a documentary which tells the story of summer 2020 which saw an unprecedented halt to Gaelic games. Source: Sportsfile

Cormican insists she felt safe returning to play camogie with her club despite working as a doctor.

“It was felt that the numbers were quite low in the community and the risk was quite low, so it’s all about weighing up the risk and the benefits.

“So I suppose because the numbers were quite low in the community, they did feel it was safe to go back playing. But, I suppose, as a player you have to decide yourself. Am I happy enough?

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“We all know in sport that we are going to be in close contact with team-mates and with the opposing team. And you have to weigh it up are you happy enough to take that risk and go back [or not].

“From my experience, everyone seems to [be willing to take that risk]. We even have higher numbers at the club now probably because people aren’t gone travelling, they’re not gone away, they’re not working the part-time jobs they usually would in the summer.

“So the numbers are actually higher. I think that’s because sport is such an outlet, it’s not only good for our physical health but also our medical health. Just having it back, it was great.

“But, I suppose, it’s something we have to reassess every week. We can’t predict what we’re going to be doing in two month’s time.

“I know there’s plans in place but, really, if the numbers continue to increase there is a risk we may end up going backwards and that in turn may affect sport. So I suppose we’re taking it week by week and assessing the risks according to the numbers.”

catriona-cormican-and-lisa-casserly-celebrate Galway’s Catriona Cormican and Lisa Casserly celebrate their All-Ireland senior camogie final victory last September. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Cormican won All-Ireland medals at underage level in both codes but football took precedent during her 20s where she lined out with Galway seniors while also featuring for the county’s intermediate camogie side.

In 2018 at the age of 30, after showing some strong form for her club Cappataggle, she was called into the senior camogie panel. It was quite the turnaround, given that just 12 months earlier she had been invited on board as team doctor.

Cormican fulfilled the dual role for a season before opting to focus her efforts on camogie, which proved a fruitful decision last year when Galway edged out Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final.

“It was crazy, a complete dream come true. Not even a dream because I wouldn’t have even thought that it would happen. A couple of years ago, I was asked to be the team doctor, so at that stage I thought well I’ll never play senior camogie for Galway.

“Then I was lucky enough to get asked in the next year and I couldn’t have predicted what was going to happen so it was just unbelievable, all my dreams came true really.”

Did the lockdown-enforced break from sport change her perspective as she balances a busy day job with her inter-county career, she’s asked.

“My perspective has definitely changed a lot these last few months. At the start of the year, you were just gunning to get back. But with everything that’s happened now, we just have to take it week by week, month by month to see what’s going to happen.

“But definitely my aim would be to win another All-Ireland. All along, my aim was to win one, but now that you have one, you want more!  As long as everyone’s safe and healthy, that’s what I’d be happy with and we’ll take it from there.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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