John Tuohy’s women lost to the Leesiders in the National League Semi-Final but beat them to secure an historic Munster Championship title earlier this month.
They fell to Offaly in their opening Group 2 outing of the All-Ireland Championship however and with Wexford and Tipperary to come after this weekend, their backs are already up against the wall.
The Shannonsiders have been in Division 1’s last four for three consecutive seasons but failed to translate that spring form to the summer, despite the brilliance of Mulcahy. The captain is hoping that this year will be different and that perhaps the Munster Championship success will bolster their belief.
“It was massive” Mulcahy declares. “The county had never won a senior title be it League, Championship or Munster Championship. I suppose you can only be the first team to do something once and it was nice to be a part of that.
“The last two years we haven’t produced anything like the same in the Championship. Winning Munster suggested we were still progressing and hopefully this year, we’re looking to be that bit more consistent in Championship.
“This year everyone seems tuned in. We kind of have… I won’t call it a Group of Death ‘cos both groups are really tough, but on last year’s pecking order, the other four teams were four of the top six so we have our work cut out for us and we know that.
“We’re working hard and the way the system is, I know it’s a cliché but you have to take every game as it comes. One loss, one slip-up and it puts you under pressure if your aim is to qualify from the group.”
The other side of the coin is that the competitiveness means teams invariably take points from one another and so even defeat against Cork, while far from ideal, would not making their cause a lost one.
“Absolutely. I think most people now prefer this to any sort of a knockout system. It guarantees you games and as a senior intercounty player, that’s what you want.
“It’s often no team in a group goes unbeaten so if you do have a slip-up it’s not the end of the world and you can hopefully rectify it the following week.
It’s good that the matches are close enough together that you don’t have time to dwell on it, be it you have a good result or a bad result.
“You have to pick yourself up and concentrate on the next game straight away.”
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Had this been a boxing match, referee Conor Lane would surely have felt compelled to stop it to save Westmeath from further punishment.