Her name is one of the biggest in Ulster camogie but Derry‘s Katie McAuley has her feet firmly on the ground as she aims to fire her county into an Gala All-Ireland Intermediate Final. Derry ensured qualification to the semi-final stage of the Gala Intermediate Championship-McGrath Cup thanks to a fine win over Wexford and picking up the points after Clare could not field.
“”Our aim this year is to put Derry on the map. We want to have a chance of playing senior camogie and there’s no reason why we can’t be up there, we do as much training as any team. When we won the Junior All-Ireland we said that we wanted to progress to Intermediate and win it. To go anywhere or to achieve anything you have to be willing to go beyond what you know and here at Derry we always want to go one better than before, Katie said.””
McAuley was in fine form earlier this month scoring 1-8 when Derry overcame neighbours Antrim in the Ulster Final but the player was quick to pay tribute to her teammates saying: “”There’s another 14 players on the pitch as well as the substitutes, no player can do it all on their own. Without your teammates feeding you the ball and defending with everything they have, as well as pushing you on in training, you can never reach the top of your game.””
For Katie winning Ulster was an important step for Derry camogie and their ambitions this year: “”Our aim is to win the Intermediate Championship this year and you can’t hope to do that if you don’t come through and win your own province. This year the Ulster Final was one of the best I’ve played in, it was billed as a æFestival of Camogie’ and there was a large crowd there not to mention TV crews, so both teams really wanted to win the title.
“”Of course there was a bit of a revenge factor in it, Derry and Antrim games are always fiercely competitive and after they beat us last year in Dunloy everyone was determined to take the title off them.””
McAuley first represented Derry at the age of 14 and since then has become one of the most decorated players in the county and indeed Ulster but she insists that she does not feel any pressure to perform or to live up to the hype.
“”Generally I don’t feel any pressure, people can say oh she should do this or that but at the end of the day all anyone can do is their best. Sometimes this means that you play the game of your life but on other occasions it doesn’t go for you. Thankfully it’s not an individual sport and as I said before there’s 14 other players helping you through,”” said Katie.
Despite losing to Galway in their final group game McAuley firmly believes that Derry can once again deliver a performance and book their place in the Gala All-Ireland Intermediate Final.
“”Cork will prove a tough test, they beat us at this stage last year but we’ve learned a lot since then, hopefully we’ll get the performance and progress to the final. Danny (McGrellis) is always reminding us that we lost it at the same stage last year and this is our motivation this year, he keeps telling us that we need to stamp our mark again. It’s good that we have both Danny and Barney (McGrellis) because both of them are really good at motivating the team in different ways and it’s good to get a different opinion,”” added McAuley.