Catherine McGourty took a few minutes out from preparations for Down’s RTE All Ireland Premier Junior Championship Semi-Final clash with Laois to speak to Down Camogie on the mood in the Down camp and how she has prepared personally this season. Catherine is the vice-captain of the Down Junior team and is a very experienced and accomplished camogie player and sports person.
In the last year Catherine has returned home from teaching in Glasgow to St Columbanus’ College, Bangor. Today she shares her thoughts on sport, camogie and the big game on Saturday.
DC: Catherine how does it feel to be back home in Ireland and how has it impacted on your camogie?
Catherine: I enjoyed my time in Glasgow and I felt part of the community there, but I have to say I am really enjoying being back at home with more time to focus on my own game and get more involved with the sport.
DC: So your love of club and county camogie was a big factor in that decision?
Catherine: Absolutely, I have enjoyed playing many sports by nothing surpasses camogie and I am delighted to have more time for the game.
DC: Apart from playing at the top level for club and county have you got involved with any other aspects of camogie?
Catherine: Yes I have really enjoyed working with the county’s U14 Development Squads. There are a lot of girls with lots of talent in the county so the future is very bright.
DC: Who do you take your inspirations from Catherine?
Catherine: There are so many inspirational characters in camogie from coaches, managers and referees but I would have to say my favourite player is Jane Adams. She is has every skill and has the composure to make everything look easy, and nothing is a lost cause to her.
DC: Have you any other sporting favourites?
Catherine: I really admire Jessica Ennis the Olympic Champion heptathlon gold medallist. She has shown that she is the complete all round athlete and although I have never met from her interviews she comes across so humble and gracious. She is a true role model for both girls and boys.
DC: In a summer which we have enjoyed the sporting excellence of the Olympics what goals have you set yourself?
Catherine: Well personally I aim to be the best camogie player I can for the team. I work a lot on my fitness and ball skills
DC: What about free taking?
Catherine: Yes I spend a lot of time off season reviewing my technique to improve my consistency and during the season I work on consistency and making good decisions based on conditions.
DC: Back to your dreams, goals and ambitions. In terms of your teams what are your ambitions.
Catherine: At this moment the focus is completely on Saturday’s game with Laois and securing a place in the All Ireland Final in September. Then we must complete the job by winning the final and set Down back on course to be a senior county again.
For my club Ballycran I would dearly love to be part of a team to win an Ulster Club Championship and All Ireland. It would mean so much to everyone in Ballycran.
DC: Saturday, how is the mood in the camp?
Catherine: One of anticipation and expectation. We are working really hard and well together. There is 100% attendance at training and Alaster and Tom’s hard work and plans are really falling into place. So it is fair to say our confidence is high based on our commitment and hard work.
DC: So the earlier defeat to Laois has been put behind the team?
Catherine: Completely. As players we are facing up to our individual responsibilities and be part of a team which is determined to continue to move forward and get back to Croke Park.
DC: Is it fair to say lessons have been learned not only from games in the group stages but the bitter disappointment of the 2011 final.
Catherine: Totally. What does not kill you makes’ you stronger and the squad have growing as people as well as players. We are taking each game one at a time on our way to achieve what our County deserves, a successful day in Croke Park.
DC: So to your opponents on Saturday Laois. What do you know about them?
Catherine: They are a very well organised team with a few very dangerous players. Sara Cuddy and Laura Dunne were very handy in the group match but they are very strong in every position. We will be giving them our total respect.
DC: Catherine can the travelling Down support be optimistic for Saturday’s game?
Catherine: Yes we have improved greatly from the one point defeat earlier in the campaign. It will be a competitive close affair but the belief in this squad will see us through.
DC: So it is all systems go for Saturday?
Catherine: Yes we are determined.
DC: Thank you Catherine for giving an insight to you and the squad’s preparations for the match and behalf off everyone in Down the best of luck for Saturday.
Catherine: Thank you I will pass your wishes on to the squad, but before I go can I say good luck to the Derry and Armagh U16 teams in their All Ireland Finals.
DC: Yes Good Luck Down, Derry and Armagh.