Laura Treacy dons a swimsuit made famous by camogie icon Gemma O’Connor
There is a whiff of 2015 around Camp Cork according to Laura Treacy. Look around in the locker room and there are cavernous spaces once filled with some of the greats to ever play camogie.
Gemma O’Connor, Aoife Murray, Orla Cotter and Briege Corkery will go down in the annals of their sport as supreme players and leaders. Pamela Mackey is also a major loss as a four-time All-Star defenseman who lost a year in the game.
It’s been six years since the Rebels went through such a transition phase but they surprised everyone, perhaps including themselves, to claim honors from all over Ireland.
Treacy was then in the early stages of her inter-county career, but was not a callow operator, having entered the panel in 2012 and having played while Cork annexed the O’Duffy Cup in 2014.
Much like then, it’s Paudie Murray overseeing the Leesiders’ remodel, with Katrina Mackey implanting in midfield alongside Ashling Thompson among the notable changes.
Another is Treacy’s shift to the center-back, having established himself as one of the best full-backs in camogie. The experience came to a sudden end, however, six minutes after the start of Cork’s second group outing, when she suffered a head injury as she jostled under a falling ball with Niamh Rockett of Waterford.
“I was split right between my eyebrows,” Treacy said. “It’s kind of like a Harry Potter signal, so all the girls are laughing at me right now.” I went back to practice last night (Tuesday) so they all thought it was hilarious singing the Harry Potter songs and stuff. I was very lucky, there was a doctor there and she hit me right away.
“I have known Niamh for many years. We would be good friends. I think she was a little upset and I was a little upset about it as well. No strong emotions.
“I don’t really remember where the ball was or what exactly happened in that situation. But I saw the clip back. It’s just one of those things, I guess.
“I was probably very unlucky that the hurley’s butt went through the helmet and got me where it did. On the other hand, I was very lucky that it didn’t. ‘don’t hit my eyes or break my nose or anything. All of those things come with sports. I was upset after the game I guess. Mainly, I didn’t know what the scar was going to be like. and I didn’t know the concussion side of things, I wasn’t any better off the pitch.
Team doctor Paul O’Keeffe cleared Treacy of the concussion after 48 hours, but she remained a little uncomfortable for a few more days. Murray was more than happy to give time to the faithful Killeagh.
She is keenly aware of the scale of the role she is getting involved in, a jersey that had belonged to O’Connor for so long until the St Finbarr legend announced his retirement in February, with nine All-Irelands and 11 All-Stars.
“I’m that kind of person who is always looking for a challenge or looking to improve myself. But by God, thinking back to 2012, when I was called to the panel, of course I was only 16, I was 17. We arrived in All-Ireland that year. But I guess it’s been a huge learning curve as I look back on the experiences I’ve had through camogie and the friendships I’ve made throughout the affair.
“This year, with Gemma gone, Aoife Murray is gone, Orla Cotter is gone. All those big names and leaders that we have on the team are gone.
“I guess over the years you learn different traits and things and you don’t know, you probably develop more as a leader. I probably learned a lot from Gemma and Aoife, especially I guess. Gemma was playing in front of me, Aoife (in goals) behind me.
“Obviously you’re always going to admire Briege (Corkery) and Orla Cotter. You sort of see what it takes. They’ve been there and have done it. Over the years I’ve probably learned a lot from ‘them even personally. Then to go with camogie too. It’s actually hard to put it into words really.
“I texted Gemma after putting on the # 6 jersey for the first time for the Cork senior camogie team and I was just like, I hope I made the jersey proud for her I was putting it on and Orla Cronin and Chloe Sigerson were sitting next to me in the locker room, and I was like, “My God, this is Gemma’s jersey, I better play well today.”
“They really are phenomenal women when you start talking about them. Exactly what they’ve done for Cork Camogie and for the girls who are on the team and the panel right now. is truly amazing.
As for the center-back, although there is an adjustment in terms of the inter-county fare, she has always played further with Killeagh and likes to be more involved in the game in general.
“The full-back has always been a tough job for me because I want to be involved in the game.
“Obviously if you’ve got all of that going on and you don’t get a lot of goods and you score likes like Miriam Walsh or Ailish O’Reilly or someone, but you’re still not fully involved in the game as such. position, I must say.
It says a lot about her mental prowess and discipline that she has been one of the best in this field for so long.
But that’s probably no surprise, given that the 26-year-old is a colposcopy nurse at St Finbarr’s Hospital, as an associate unit at Cork University Maternity.
“I would deal with a lot of people who are probably around my age. I see the worst of what exists. I would see everyone who had an abnormal smear. Most people don’t have abnormal smears, but it occurs to you that there are so many people with them.
“This change in deployment of the HPV vaccine has made it a more common topic of discussion with young people. When I was in school, I was probably one of the first groups of girls to get this HPV vaccine. I feel like cervical cancer has been discussed with girls ever since, and now everyone who is 12, in first grade of school, gets the HPV vaccine, girls and boys .
“So it’s more normal because all these 12 and 13 year old girls talk about cervical cancer, HPV. When before, there would have almost been a stigma around HPV because it’s technically transmitted sexually, well it’s skin to skin, but it’s mostly sexually transmitted.
“People then think it’s an STD or something, when it’s not. It’s a virus, it’s like catching a cold or the flu. make things normal then the awareness comes next once people talk about it at all.
“There is a long way to go to prevent it completely. But we are going in the right direction and it is just important that the awareness is there for people to go and enjoy the free service. ”
Tomorrow Galway presents the toughest challenge yet of where the current iteration of Cork’s camogy is and Treacy is as excited as she was when she went to practice and watched Gemma O ‘Connor et al with admiration.
Now is his turn to carry the torch, and you couldn’t find a better place.