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Cork Independent


Oh sandie

Thursday, 14th February, 2013 12:00am

The Guinness Book of Records lists Indian toddler Akshat Saxna as having the most fingers and toes in the world, with a grand total of 34 in all. Even he wouldn't have enough digits for every honour won by Cork camogie legend Sandie Fitzgibbon who recently added one more win to her name when she was presented with the Northside and District Hall of Fame Award! Louise Cashell spoke with the Glen Rovers clubwoman on the many highs and few lows of her prestigious career.When Sandie Fitzgibbon began her camogie career at the age of eight, never could she envision the long and successful career that lay ahead of her. Making her debut on the senior Glen Rovers team at the age of 12 she has won every honour in the game at club, county and inter-county level, something she says took an extra bit of luck.

"I consider myself very lucky when I look at all that I won. I was surrounded by many brilliant players in all the teams that I was involved in. They were the types of players that always showed huge commitment and I think that's the reason that I have won so much, I happened to be on a lot of teams with fantastic players."

Sandie has won six All-Ireland titles with Cork, four All-Ireland club championships, three minor All-Irelands (she is the first player to ever win back-to back titles at that level), seven National League titles and in 2004 she was one of four Cork players named on the camogie team of the century."I have many highlights when I look back at my career but I suppose the real stand-out was when I captained Cork to win the All-Ireland in 1992. We had lost four or five All-Irelands before that match after winning in '82 and '83. There was a lot of hurt there and it was very hard to take, so winning in '92 was huge and getting to captain the team was something else. It's hard to put it in to words the feeling that it gave me but it was just out of this world, a really special moment."She is the holder of 10 Cork senior county championship medals with Glen Rovers, another point of her career that gives her huge pride."We were the only club at the time who was playing Senior A and that was a really big deal to us. I remember one final in particular where we were playing Seandún and we came from well behind to beat them, it was some way to win I'll say that!

"Again that was down to all the players that were around me, different players stepped up in different matches both in my club and county games and that was why we won as much as we did. I played with a lot of great players but Val Fitzpatrick, Linda Mellerick and Therese O'Callaghan were stand out players for me but as I said, every player did their bit on different days, they covered the gaps when it was needed, which is vital in the game."Sandie is also an accomplished basketball player having won several national league and cup titles with both Blarney and Tralee and she has won 68 senior international caps with Ireland. In 1992 she was the recipient of the Delta Airlines Olmpic Award for basketball and she says she was lucky in that she never had to make a decision between these two sports."The two seasons never really clashed, so I was able to combine the two which was great. I'm still playing a bit of basketball up in Dublin where i'm currently based for work so I'm not quite finished with that yet," she jokes. With all the highlights of her prestigious career, there is one stand-out regret for Sandie. "I will always remember losing the All-Ireland final with the Glen against St Paul's of Kilkenny. We were up by four and then we ended up losing by three or four and I will never forget that, plus I was captain which made it even worse! I don't really like to say I have regrets, especially with all that I won, but that's definitely one I look back on and wish that I had won, just because of the way that we lost."Since Sandie retired after winning an All-Ireland in 1997, Cork have gone on to win six All-Irelands, and she believe camogie is getting stronger around the county by the day.

"Cork are always there or thereabouts which is great, there is plenty of young teams coming through the county that are helping push camogie to be an even better game. I like to keep up to date with everything that's going on.

"My sisters are involved in Brunell Basketball Club and I'm always checking in on the camogie so I still know everything that is going on, even if I am no longer playing in Cork. You have teams such as Milford who are in an All-Ireland final and from what I can see camogie is really benefiting from clubs like that, it's great to see!"

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