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10 Years After Hero Moment, Trish Jackman Still Values Ashbourne Cup Days

19 February 2012; Waterford Institute of Technology players Sarah Anne Fitzgearld, left, Patricia Jackman and Kristina Kenneally, right, celebrate after the final whistle. 2012 Ashbourne Cup Final, University of Limerick v Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford IT, Waterford. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
By PJ Browne Updated
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Trish Jackman vaguely recalls asking Denise Gaule for her hurley. Her own stick required some in-game repairs. Not an ideal scenario when you're about to take a free with the Ashbourne Cup title on the line at the end of a double extra-time thriller.

"There was something wrong with the tin of my hurley, and I had to knock it back in," Jackman tells Balls about that moment a decade ago.

Just minutes earlier, Waterford IT's hopes of winning their fifth consecutive Electric Ireland Ashbourne Cup looked to have faded with the evening light. Tipperary great Cáit Devane had put strong favourites UL three points up, but a sensational goal from Gaule, created by a brilliant run from Shelly Farrell, got them level.

It was again Gaule who claimed the sliotar from the puckout, and won the free which gave Jackman the opportunity. Looking back now, Jackman isn't certain why she got the nod to take the free, though she suspects it was due to the distance. Earlier in the final, Emma Comerford had twice knocked over frees to extend the game, first at the end of normal time, and then at the end of the first period of extra-time.

"I won a few Poc Fadas," Jackman says modestly. (It was actually seven.)

"I would have taken a lot of the frees around the middle of the field. I would have known that one was in range if I struck it well. You don't always strike them well. Before that, I'd taken a free on the right-hand side, but hadn't struck it that well at all. I may have slipped.

"It was a floodlit game at that stage, late into the evening. It was one of those that went straight over the bar. I knew it was over once I'd struck it. I could see where it was going."


4 August 2012; Winner of the M. Donnelly Camogie An Poc Fada 2012 Patricia Jackman, Waterford, and winner of the M. Donnelly An Poc Fada 2012 Brendan Cummins, Tipperary, with their respective trophies. Annaverna Mountain, Dundalk, Co. Louth. Photo by Sportsfile

The epic 3-13 to 2-15 win was Jackman's fourth Ashbourne Cup title, WIT's fifth in a row, and their seventh since winning a maiden championship in 1999. For the local girl, who'd enrolled at WIT thinking she'd only make the camogie B team, it was a remarkable triumph.


"I remember one of the first freshers trainers sessions up in De La Salle," Jackman recalls.

"I was looking around and there was Katrina Parrock, Denise Gaule, Katie Power. It was phenomenal that that was our freshers group.

"Back then, the team was posted up on the GAA notice board at WIT. I was waiting to see where I was on the second team because I genuinely didn't feel I'd be on the first."


Jackman already had three seasons as a Waterford senior on her camogie CV when she entered WIT (what is now called SETU Waterford) to study Sport and Recreation Management in the autumn of 2009. She would go on to win All-Ireland junior and intermediate titles with the Deise, and be named Waterford's overall Gaelic games Player of the Year in 2015. To those achievements, being in that WIT camogie hothouse was key.

"It was just a phenomenal time, phenomenal people down there as well," she says.

"They just made you feel such a part of the club. It was a really great time. You were always learning something. The opportunity to go to training and have the likes of Katrina Parrock, Denise Gaule, Katie Power, Ursula Jacob, Collette Dormer, Anne Dalton... I could go on. Just to be in their presence was amazing.


"Our management team. Helena Jacob was so crucial. She just gave you such belief, and it didn't really matter if you were from Waterford, Wexford or Kilkenny, whether you were from the junior grade or senior grade, you were just given an opportunity. Once she had that belief in you, it gave you belief as well.


"I was always someone who was curious to learn and always wanted to know what could I do differently that could lead to improvement. Being in that environment, and being challenged in every single training session; every time you played a training game, generally speaking, you were marking someone from a senior county team.

"The calibre of player in the Ashbourne Cup at the time was outstanding. For sure, it had a huge impact on me because it gave me that opportunity to play through the winter at an extremely high level. It definitely gave a lot of belief that you could go back and contribute to your county team, and club team as well."


18 February 2012; Patricia Jackman, Waterford Institute of Technology. 2012 Ashbourne Cup Semi-Final B, Waterford Institute of Technology v University College Dublin, Waterford IT, Waterford. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Jackman believes the foundations of WIT's five consecutive titles were laid by the team which had lost the 2008 Ashbourne Cup final to UCD, and then come back a year later to defeat the Dublin side in the final. Their approach and work ethic was passed down to the teams which followed.


"There was a great bond there for sure, and that's where our management were fantastic in facilitating that," says Jackman.

"The training over the Christmas period, you'd always remember that. People made the time to get down to Waterford and do the training camp. There was never an issue, people were just there. Those were the standards that were set within the group. There was never a point where you had a concern about that. You had a training programme and you did it.

"There's never a point in your career from a GAA perspective, a camogie perspective where you are living in the same houses together or in the same classes together. You are spending so much time together. I don't think there's another time in life when you will have that opportunity.

"There are so many friendships that were made, and even though we might not necessarily see each other that often now that we're scattered all over the world, we'd always know that we can pick up the phone and give someone a call."

In 2015, Jackman won her fifth Ashbourne Cup title, and was named Player of the Tournament, as WIT again beat UL in the final.

"We came back with a very different team in 2015," she says.

It was a different achievement to the one that we'd had in 2013 because a lot people didn't feel that we had the same team on paper. There was an element of building a new team.

You look at a lot of the players we had on that team, and you think, we had Meighan Farrell, Miriam Walsh, players who were coming through, and they were going to establish themselves.

Now we look back on the Ashbourne weekend, and how special that is. Everyone really looked forward to it.

A little over seven years on from leaving WIT, there's 'doctor' in front of Jackman's name. She's Associate Professor in Sport and Exercise Psychology at the University of Lincoln, where she completed her PhD in 2017. As she guides others through their education, much of what she learnt about leadership came from being on the camogie pitch, and in those successful dressing rooms.

13 September 2015; Waterford's Patricia Jackman and her team-mates celebrate after the game. All Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championship Final, Kildare v Waterford. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE

For a while, Jackman travelled back and forth between England and Ireland as she played with Waterford and her club Gailltír. In 2019, her last season playing inter-county camogie, she helped Waterford reach the All-Ireland quarter-final, and then Gailltírto the county intermediate title. Munster, and All-Ireland titles followed, the latter just over a week before the Covid-19 pandemic shut Ireland down in 2020.

"We played St Rynaghs [in the final]," she says.

"It didn't look like it was going to go our way, but thankfully we got the goal towards the end. It was very special.

"We were very lucky. I was glad that my sister put the ball under the crossbar rather than over because I don't know when a replay would ever have been played!"

That day, March 1st, 2020 was the last time she played camogie.

"My camogie career is on an indefinite pause," she says, before a hopeful smile crosses her face, "but I'm not retired."

See Also: Why Playing Fitzgibbon Cup And Ashbourne Cup Is An Advantage

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