Dual star Fiona Keating chases weekend double

Fiona Keating, should results fall in her favour this weekend, won’t be the first dual player to pocket two county senior championship medals in the one year. What’s unique about this 17-year-old is that she’s bidding to achieve double glory in the space of 25 hours.

Dual star Fiona Keating chases weekend double

Fiona Keating, should results fall in her favour this weekend, won’t be the first dual player to pocket two county senior championship medals in the one year. What’s unique about this 17-year-old is that she’s bidding to achieve double glory in the space of 25 hours.

This Saturday at Castle Road, Blackrock (3pm), Keating will line-out at corner-forward on the first ever Courcey Rovers team to contest the Cork senior camogie final. Standing in their way are defending county champions Inniscarra.

A day later at Cloughduv (4pm), Keating will again be at corner-forward, this time in the colours of West Cork, as the divisional outfit locks horns with Mourneabbey in the Cork ladies football final replay. No more than her club Courcey Rovers, West Cork are also chasing a maiden county title. Mourneabbey, meanwhile, are bidding to secure a fifth consecutive Cork crown.

“I am nearly more nervous than excited about the weekend ahead,” said Keating, a fifth-year student at Kinsale Community School.

“I’ve played loads of big matches with my county, All-Irelands and stuff, but it is kind of different when it is your club. You are playing alongside the girls you grew up with. It is nearly bigger and makes me even more nervous.

“I can appreciate what I am facing into, but in another way, I see the older girls that have been soldiering away for Courceys for years and their determination as to how much they really want this.

“I have never won anything with my club so it is a massive thing to be trying to win a county senior. A club medal on Saturday would be massive for me. Starting off at six years of age, you always dream of winning a county senior medal, not to mind having the chance to win in both codes on the one weekend. It would be absolutely phenomenal if we were able to win both.”

Two games in one weekend is nothing new for Keating and she enjoyed the perfect dress rehearsal last weekend as the Cork ladies football final and the county camogie semi-final fell within 24 hours of one another.

Last Saturday at Cork IT, Keating, who won an All-Ireland minor camogie medal earlier this year and was on the Cork minor football team which endured All-Ireland final heartache, was among the scorers as West Cork pulled back a one-point deficit during nine minutes of additional-time to force a replay.

“It was the first time I had come across Mourneabbey. There was such a difference in terms of physicality between county minor and what I experienced on Saturday.

“I came home after the match and went straight down to the shop for a bag of ice. The Courcey Rovers management warned me to go straight to Garrettstown beach, but it was lashing rain, so I settled on a bath full of ice instead.

“I was somewhat sore on Sunday so I had another ice bath before the Milford camogie match.”

Despite the endeavours of the previous day, Keating went out and notched 1-3 from play, finishing as Courcey Rovers’ top-scorer in a famous 2-10 to 2-6 victory.

“We knew after the ladies football draw that the replay would be this Saturday. After winning the camogie last Sunday, we were told the camogie final would also be Saturday. I thought they were going to clash and was upset by it, thinking I might have to choose. I was onto Anne O’Grady (West Cork selector) and she emailed the county board. They got back to her with a change of date.

“I am well used to double weekends. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do a double. If we were fortunate enough to win the camogie on Saturday, I wouldn’t mind missing the celebrations that evening for an ice bath as I know such celebrations would go on well beyond Saturday.”

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