Wednesday, December 04, 2019

By Daragh Ó Conchúir

Orla Cotter says she does not know if she will line out for Cork in next year’s Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship after recently moving to New York. The 31-year-old St Catherine’s star has been involved for 14 consecutive seasons at senior level with the Rebels since being called up in 2006, accumulating seven All-Ireland titles.

[timgcap=‘It’s exciting. I don’t know how many times in your life you get the opportunity to try something different. I don’t know if I will [play for Cork next year] but we’ll see,’ says Orla Cotter. Picture: Inpho/Lorraine O’Sullivan]orlacottercork2019_large.jpg[/timgcap]

Her first All-Star arrived in 2008 and though she had to wait another six years for her second, Cotter was honoured for the following five seasons in a row. The 2018 award came after another fantastic campaign culminated in the left-handed, right-side-striking Ballynoe native showing nerves of steel to convert a 55m injury-time free to snatch a one-point victory over Kilkenny in that year’s All-Ireland Final.

That earned her a spot on the recent All-Stars Tour to New York but Cotter did not require to travel with the rest of the party, having already moved over with her husband Mark, who she married in May 2018.

“Mark got a job with the same company he was working with in Ireland,” Cotter explains. “It was a great opportunity and a new adventure I suppose.

“I took a career break from school [teaching Irish and PE at Midleton College] so I’m waiting for my work visa to come through. I’m not sure what my plans are yet. Maybe I’ll do something new but I haven’t really decided.

“It’s exciting. I don’t know how many times in your life you get the opportunity to try something different. I don’t know if I will [play for Cork next year] but we’ll see.”

There is much she has yet to work out. Cotter will definitely miss the League campaign and though she hasn’t ruled out returning home for the Championship, she will not do so belatedly.

“I haven’t made any decisions yet. We’ll play it by ear and see what happens in the summer. It’s not like me to go back after everybody else; I’ve never done that and wouldn’t like to do it. I don’t know what I might be doing in terms of work. It would also be a long time to leave Mark here so there’s a lot to consider.

I have spoken to Paudie [Murray, Cork manager] about it but really all I’ve said is ‘we’ll see’ and I can’t say any more than that right now because I don’t know.

She has looked at doing online courses from their house in Jersey City to fill the time until her work visa has been acquired and may get involved in coaching with one of the local camogie clubs.

What she doesn’t do is think too much about the All-Ireland semi-final loss to Galway. Her policy is to absorb whatever lessons need learning immediately and then consign the whole experience to the bin (or trash can, in deference to her new home) of her mind.

“I’m not one to look back on matches at all. You know yourself what went wrong. Sometimes it’s good to learn I suppose but I haven’t looked back on that one yet anyway.”

By then, she knew that she would be packing her bags for the States and thus making a far shorter trip to All-Star base camp at the Wellington Hotel.

“It was gas alright. I got the All-Star in 2018 and was it back in May or June when they announced about going to New York? We were nearly sure we were going at that stage and were laughing.”

Cotter’s Cork teammate Amy O’Connor stole the show at Gaelic Park 11 days ago, scoring 3-4 from play in the first-half alone as the class of 2019 got the upper hand in this year’s renewal. It was undoubtedly strange to be in opposition to the St Vincent’s speedster but two years ago, Aoife Murray was saving Cotter’s penalty in the Spanish capital.

“And she’s the one that usually takes the penalties, so the rest of us hadn’t that much practice!” says a laughing Cotter.

Only time will tell if there will be another outing with Cork for Orla Cotter, not to mind another All-Stars tour.

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