HEC Third Level Football Championships Captain’s Day: Emma Spillane (UCC) – The Evening Echo – March 12 2020

Spillane happy with coaching roles blend


Daire Walsh

DESPITE opting to take a year out from the panel, two-time All-Star Emma Spillane has been keeping a close watch on Cork’s progress in the LIDL National Football League.

Having secured a record 12th top-flight crown at the expense of Galway last May, the Leesiders are firmly in the hunt for title number 13 courtesy of their impressive start to 2020.

While Spillane was delighted to see Ephie Fitzgerald remaining at the helm – she believes the coaching roles taken up by Paddy O’Shea and Conor Quinlan has provided additional impetus to the inter-county set-up.

“It’s great to have familiar faces, who brought in a few new people to the management team.

“For the girls that have been there and the girls that have been brought on, it’s good to have someone who knows them.

“But also someone new, who can spot different things and different aspects of the game. I think it’s great that there’s a mixture now,” Spillane said.

Once summer moves into view, Spillane’s concentration will be on the latest edition of the club championships – where she is expected to line out for both Bantry Blues and West Cork.

She reached the senior decider with the latter in 2019, eventually losing out to All-Ireland champions Mourneabbey.

Before then, she will place all on her focus on UCC and their forthcoming O’Connor Cup weekend at the Kerry Centre of Excellence.

Having fallen short at the semi-final stage over the past two years, Spillane is hopeful they can avoid a similar fate when they face DCU on Friday in Currans.

“The past two years we’ve made it to the semi-final stage and we’ve lost out narrowly enough.

“This is only my third year in college. I haven’t made it to the final yet, so this year we’ll be hoping to go a step further.

“If not two and win the competition.”

Spillane was speaking in Croke Park last Thursday at a Captain’s Day for the HEC Third Level Championship Finals – the O’Connor Cup being one of six deciders down for decision in the Kingdom.

Spillane was standing in on the day for team skipper Mairead Corkery, but was fulsome in her praise of the St Val’s star.

“Mairead is great. This is her fifth year now on the team, so she knows the ins and outs of the competition.

“She has been to the weekend before, she has loads of experience. She’s a fantastic player, she’s great to play with. I’m delighted that she’s captain this year,” Spillane added.

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