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Model sisters powering Wexford forward

Updated: Wednesday, 02 Jul 2014 14:40 | Comments

Ursula Jacob and her Wexford team-mates face Cork at Wexford Park on Saturday
Ursula Jacob and her Wexford team-mates face Cork at Wexford Park on Saturday

By Paul O'Neill

Wexford's very own sister act is driving their bid for All-Ireland camogie glory, as Helena and Ursula Jacob play key roles in their campaign.

This season, Wexford are hoping to claim the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland title for the first time in two years, with Helena handed the task of managing the team at the end of last term.

One of the stars of the side is her younger sibling Ursula, who was the top scorer for the Model County as they beat holders Galway in the first series of games in Group 1 of the championship earlier this month.

Now the Jacobs - whose brother Rory plays hurling for Wexford - are plotting another win ahead of their meeting with Cork on Saturday.

But while Helena agrees it is rare for someone to be in charge of a county team that her sister is playing for, she has not seen it as an awkward situation.

Helena said: "I have thoroughly enjoyed being involved with Wexford in this capacity and having Ursula there adds a special dimension to the whole thing.

"It was not a new experience for me having her playing in my side because it happened when we were both with Waterford Institute of Technology. I was the manager while Ursula was playing and it worked fine.

"The important thing for us is that we are able to keep our relationship as sisters separate from the Wexford scenario.

"There is no special treatment for Ursula as my sister when it comes to Wexford and she does not expect it either."

Meanwhile, Ursula reckons Helena was the right person to take over the reins from JJ Doyle, who had stepped into the breach when Martin Lynch quit the hot seat following the 2013 National League.

"Helena deserved to get this chance with Wexford because she had done well with the county intermediates as manager and knows the game in the county so well," she declared.

"Also, she is well organised and knows how to bring the best out of players. The fact my county boss is also my sister has not been hard to get used to at all.

"When it comes to camogie with Wexford, I treat her the same as I have any other manager and that sums it up."

Wexford laid down a marker for the Championship with their defeat of Galway.

It was Wexford's first game in the competition since the same opposition crushed them by nine points in last year's All-Ireland semi-final, scuppering their hopes of landing what would have been a fourth title on the trot.

However, Ursula insists Wexford have come back stronger after that setback.

"I think we learned quite a bit from last year's All-Ireland semi-final and the lessons have stood to us this season,” the 29-year-old said.

"Also, the loss gave us a slightly longer break than we had been used to over the previous three years and that did not do us any harm as we were able to get a proper rest from playing.

"It was fantastic to get the win over Galway at the start of the group as it gave us a great platform, which hopefully we can build on over the coming weeks as the championship goes on.

"But really we are not looking past the Cork game. They beat us in this year's league and have never been easy opponents for us.

"The chances are it will turn out to be another close game, but we will not mind as long as we come out on the right side of the result."

Wexford's showdown with Cork at Wexford Park clashes with the hurlers' All-Ireland qualifier against Clare, meaning Helena and Ursula will not be able to support Rory in his game and he will miss out on their encounter.

But Helena is hopeful that Rory will have at least one more day out in this year’s championship so they can cheer him on.

"It is unfortunate that the two games are on at the same time because we like to get along to cheer each other on when we have a game," she added.

"I know the hurling side have a tall order if they are to get the better of the All-Ireland champions but they did well in their last game against Dublin and should not be written off."

Saturday
Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Camogie Senior C'ship Group 1
Galway v Dublin, Athenry 3.15
Wexford v Cork, Wexford Park 3.15

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Camogie Senior C'ship Group 2
Offaly v Derry, Tullamore 1.30
Tipperary v Kilkenny, The Ragg 3.15

Sunday
TG4 Connacht Ladies Football Senior C'ship final
Mayo v Galway, Castlebar 3.30
TG4 Ulster Ladies Football Senior C'ship final
Armagh v Monaghan, Omagh 3.30

  

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