AIB Camogie Club Championships - Niamh Mulcahy: Knowing you've won nothing drives you on
There aren't many players who can say they have a 12-year senior club career behind them at the age of just 25.
In Limerick they know all about hurt and near misses when it comes to sport. The men's senior hurlers still dream of ending the famine stretching back to 1973 while the camogie side only last year ended their All-Ireland hoodoo.
Niamh Mulcahy was central to the win with her haul of 0-7 securing the title at the expense of Galway. However, AIB Club Camogie Championship success continues to elude the women of Ahane and the 25-year-old Mulcahy admits she uses the club disappointment as motivation to come back stronger, fitter and better each year.
'We won senior B years ago but since we came up to senior A we haven't won anything,' she told SportsJOE. 'It can be tough but at the same time you need motivation to keep coming out the following year and knowing you haven't won anything drives you on.'
Mulcahy comes from one of the most famous Limerick hurling and camogie families, with links to Mick Mackey through her mother, Vera, who won several club titles with the Limerick outfit.
She, along with her sisters Claire and Judith, are central to the club's hopes of breaking their duck at senior level. Mulcahy admits there's a frustration in not being able to overcome the recent kingpins of Granagh-Balingarry and Killeedy. Their most recent county final disappointment came in 2013.
'We've made it to semi finals and a few finals over the last number of years but we still haven't got over the line. Each year you're hoping that if you put in that little bit extra effort things might change for the better. '
The 25-year-old made her debut for her beloved Ahane at the tender age of 13 when she was thrust into goals in a senior club game. She thinks it was a good introduction to senior camogie and an ideal testing ground for a young player
'The change had been made from the 12 to 15 a side so anytime they were struggling for numbers I would have been fired on in goals or fired on up front. I guess it was a bit of a baptism of fire but in general most camogie players would make their debut with adult teams a lot sooner than their male counterparts. If you're good enough you're old enough. You have to be tough, you have no choice really, you're in at the deep end and it's sink or swim.'
Ahane are the most successful GAA club in hurling terms in Limerick but have failed to win much-needed silverware for a number of years. Therefore, it's somewhat surprising to hear that Mulcahy isn't in any way jealous of the teams that are involved in this weekend's All-Ireland semi finals,
'Club-wise you're never envious of anyone. You know with your club you're going to have good and bad years and that's what separates success with club from inter-county success, the closeness of the group and the dressing room.'
Looking to this weekend's action, Mulcahy feels that Milford are hot favourites to seal their place in a third All-Ireland final in a row at the expense of Mullagh.
'They lost a few Cork senior finals and sometimes you just have to get over the line once. They have gone on an exceptional run since and it's going to take a great team to beat them. They go in as red hot favourites but they have always struggled against Galway opposition. Last year they only beat Aradrahan by a point so I give Mullagh every shot.'
The Limerick woman also has experience of playing against the other too semi-finalists in recent times at both club and county level.
'We played Oulart in a challenge at the weekend and they are motoring well. They will have it tough against Loughgiel. When we played Antrim last year in the championship it was basically the Loughgiel team. Oulart are favourites but at this time of year matches can swing any way.'
Her hope for 2015 is the same as every other club player in the country-success is within reach through hard work and belief:
'Every player goes out with the idea that they are capable of winning the county title and you have to have that belief because if you don't then no-one is going to row in together to make it happen. When you're coming season after season with nothing to show club-wise it can be tough, but club is where you start, club is where you finish your career and you play with players you are with all your life, there's always a drive to do well with the club.'
And is there a dream of running out in Croke Park some day for an All-Ireland club final, 'I'd take a county final...I wont be dreaming of a Munster final or Croke Park just yet.'