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'A girl who played with us did a fundraiser in New York' - Offaly club gearing up for All-Ireland final

St Ryangh’s will take on Waterford’s Gailtír in the All-Ireland intermediate camogie club decider.

ST RYNAGH’S EMMA Corcoran has been stunned by the level of support they have received in advance of their All-Ireland intermediate camogie club final on Sunday.

emma-corcoran St Rynagh's star Emma Corcoran. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Having faltered at the semi-final hurdle last year, the Offaly outfit have already surpassed their 2019 run and are now on the cusp of going one better to clinch All-Ireland glory this weekend.

Incidentally, they’ll be coming up against the same team — Gailtír of Waterford — who defeated them in that last-four tie last year. And since Gailtír lost the subsequent decider, both sides are looking to heal some scars from the 2019 campaign while also renewing their rivalries.

St Rynagh’s booked their place in this year’s final after overcoming Galway’s Carnmore by 2-13 to 1-13 last month. And the locals are getting out in their numbers to row in behind the team.

Corcoran splits her time between work as a production operator in Medtronic, and training with St Rynagh’s, meaning she doesn’t come into much contact with the local supporters.

But she saw it in full flow after that narrow win over Carnmore, and was somewhat overwhelmed by it all.

“I couldn’t believe it, there was a few people thanking us at the semi-final, which is nice,” she tells The42.

And we’re like, ‘for what?’

‘Just happiness’

“So it’s nice to hear it.

“I work, I come home and I train so I don’t really see it. At the weekend, [everyone] is like ‘how are ya feeling?’”

And the backing they have received is not confined to just the locals in St Rynagh’s, or even the wider Offaly area. They’re getting support all the way from the USA as well.

We actually have a girl who used to play with us and she did a huge fundraiser for us in New York,” says Corcoran. “It shows the support over that side as well.”

Corcoran is well travelled. She has been exploring the world since she was 19, taking in some of the major cities in America and Australia before returning home to Offaly last year to pick up club hurling again.

She started off with a six-month stint in New York where she also played some football before briefly coming back to Ireland.

In more recent years, Corcoran has been living in Australia, passing through Perth, Melbourne and Darwin. Meanwhile at home, St Rynagh’s were developing into a powerful side, winning three county titles on the bounce while also becoming back-to-back Leinster champions.

It wasn’t long before she felt the pull of home to get involved in the club’s success. 

“I was working, travelling and back-packing,” Corcoran says of her Australian adventure. 

My visa did expire so I was due to come home but I think I wanted to come back. They won the last two county finals and they just seemed to be on a roll. I thought I’d come home and see how I get on.

“It’s been a great year, it flew by. It’s just been sport all year so it’s good.”

offaly-team-celebrate-with-the-trophy The victorious Offaly ladies in 2013. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Sunday will not be Corcoran’s first time to play in Croke Park. She lined out for the Offaly Ladies when they contested the All-Ireland junior final in 2013 against Wexford, winning the duel by five points.

She recalls having only feelings of excitement at the time, and wasn’t burdened by any nerves ahead of the clash. 

“I was… young,” she reflects. “This will be a lot different.”

Corcoran wasn’t around for St Rynagh’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat last year, but is reliably informed by her club-mates that it simply “wasn’t their day.”

She has no regrets about calling time on her travels to give her full focus to St Rynagh’s for the moment.

And after falling short last year, she’s hoping to be there for their biggest achievement yet.

“I did miss out on big wins but I’m here now and we’re in probably the most important game

“It’s a huge venue. You want to play well because it’s a big day but it’s nerve wracking. You’re training for this all year and it just comes around then so quickly, even though you’re waiting so long for it.

“I’m excited as well.”

St Rynagh’s Emma Corcoran was speaking ahead of the AIB All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Club Championship Final taking place at Croke Park on Sunday, March 1st where the Offaly club will face Waterford’s Gailltír.

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