By Ann Downey
Contrary to what the experts would say, what drove me on to win any match, be it Club or County was the fear of losing.
I would put my head in the way if it meant stopping an opponent.
For any player appearing in an All-Ireland, it is all about getting the mind focused. After putting in long hours of physical and mental preparation it’s now down to the mindset.
Though I wasn’t by a long shot the most gifted player on the team, in my mind I was the best, though I never over thought the game.
The lads on Sunday will by now have started their pre-match routine, be it having a few pucks around with the others, meeting up for breakfast or just wanting to be in your own space.
As a Gael, All-Ireland day doesn’t get any bigger and it’s the place every Hurler, Footballer or Camogie player wants to be.
Think of all the great players gone before us that never go the opportunity to play in an All-Ireland, think of all the great players sitting at home this very Sunday wishing they were there.
The lads are all gifted hurlers.
Understanding their role on Sunday will help drive their performance.
As Brian Cody has said, this team has a fierce spirit.
Operating as a collective, each player working hard for one another, will hopefully see them over the line.
The day it self can be very daunting.
The long Saturday before, wishing for Sunday to come.
All the hours to kill before you get a chance to run out onto Croke Park.
All the hard work comes down to the next 70 minutes.
I’ve worked hard, I’m a great player. I’m good enough, that’s why I’m lining out today for Kilkenny.
For a player, how will I perform, again it’s all about the mindset.
Having belief in yourself is ultimately the most important part of a winning mindset, no matter what sport you play. Sunday is the day they have longed for, so why not just go out and enjoy.
Belief is the greatest armour every sports person must have.
Belief in their own ability, belief that they can get the job done.
Belief in their teammates and their Management Team.
You can eliminate all negative habits with two very simple resolves;
I CAN!! And I WILL!!
Best of Luck to the Team and Management.
Ann Downey is a former camogie player, winner of 12All Ireland Inter County medals, captaining the team in 1989 and 1994, and seven All Ireland Club medals with St Pauls and Lisdowney . Ann was manager of Kilkenny Camogie senior team in 2008 and 2009 and from 2016 to 2019.
Ann Downey photo: inpho photography