CAMOGIE: Focused Milford bid to take final step

Milford Camogie Club waited quite a while for a first Cork county senior title, but since they beat St Catherine’s last October the good times have rolled.

The Munster championship followed in quick succession and tomorrow the North Cork side face their biggest test as they travel to play Oulart-the-Ballagh in the All-Ireland semi-final.

For the Milford coach, former Carrigtwohill player Frank Flannery, it was a case of trying to extract that bit extra from the side.

“They lost three finals in eight years, so they were close,” he said.

“There was always talent within the club, especially at underage level, and maybe it was just a case of instilling a little discipline.

“One big thing last year was that we won the Munster summer league without the county players, so that definitely helped, in terms of belief. It was then a case of success breeding success.”

Anna Geary is the marquee name for Milford, sisters Marie, Áine and Emer Watson are also important players, while the addition of Maria Walsh when Ballyhea folded was also a boost.

Flannery refuses to get carried away with the progress made. “Sunday is a huge challenge, going to the home of the All-Ireland champions and trying to beat them. Oulart had 10 players on the Wexford panel, they beat Cork in the All-Ireland final by seven points. They’ll be hot favourites, but I’d give us a real chance.”

For Flannery, coaching borders on an obsession, though it took two attempts before Milford lured him. “At the start of 2011, one or two approached me and I said no, but they came back at the start of last year so I said I’d give it a go. I was with Imokilly for two years and got to a county final with them and had been involved with Cork too, so I knew that there was great talent in Milford. I’m still with the Cork minors and I’ve done work with Kerry seniors, Glanworth and a few others, since I gave up playing it’s almost a full-time night job. I don’t watch any TV other than sport, but I love it. You have to, but I think I’m stone-mad cracked sometimes.”

Picture: Anna Geary – key player for Milford. Picture: David Keane

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