Up for Mourne­abbey

Irish Examiner - County - - Sport -

the day,” says Stack.

“I hate say­ing we were com­pla­cent be­cause at the time I didn’t think any­one was, but look­ing back on it now we prob­a­bly were a lit­tle bit. Maybe hav­ing the com­fort of know­ing we were go­ing through re­gard­less of the re­sult, but at the same time, ab­so­lutely no­body wanted to lose that county ti­tle.”

Af­ter a ti­tanic bat­tle, the teams were dead­locked at the fi­nal whis­tle. Mourne­abbey’s per­for­mance in the re­play im­proved dras­ti­cally and they kicked them­selves to a 4-11 to 1-10 vic­tory.

As al­ways, the Cork cham­pi­ons were red-hot favourites to re­tain their Mun­ster crown and de­spite a strong Bal­ly­macar­bry show­ing, the Clyda unit se­cured a fifth con­sec­u­tive county and in­ter­provin­cial dou­ble.

The All-Ire­land dream was well and truly alive, two games stood be­tween Mourne­abbey and fi­nally reach­ing the pin­na­cle.

Gal­way cham­pi­ons Kilk­er­rin-Clon­berne pro­vided the All-Ire­land semi­fi­nal op­po­si­tion. The sides had also locked horns at the same stage in 2015, a game Mourne­abbey won by a point. But this time around the Mun­ster cham­pi­ons dom­i­nated their op­po­nents from start to fin­ish, se­cur­ing an eight­point vic­tory. But could they repli­cate that per­for­mance in the fi­nal?

“That was a fear of ours, not that we had peaked too soon, but be­cause we had played so well in the semi-fi­nal, it was al­ways go­ing to be in the back of your head; can you go out and do the same the next day?” But the per­for­mance in the semi-fi­nal in­di­cated a com­ing of age of the group. Where they had stum­bled into All-Ire­land fi­nals in the past, they had stormed their way into the 2018 de­cider.

Train­ing in the weeks fol­low­ing went off with­out a hitch and Stack re­calls a re­laxed, yet fo­cused at­mos­phere in the build-up to the fi­nal.

“The bus was a dif­fer­ent feel­ing. Peo­ple were just re­laxed, com­posed and in the zone from the get-go, it’s hard to ex­plain it. The oc­ca­sion didn’t get to us, it just felt like we were go­ing out to play any other match.”

But it wasn’t just any other match, it was the big­gest game of the Ladies Foot­ball club calendar and fi­nally, Mourne­abbey truly showed their pedi­gree. They shot out of the traps and at half time held a com­mand­ing 1-12 to 1-3 in­ter­val lead.

De­spite only reg­is­ter­ing one point in the sec­ond half, Mourne­abbey al­ways re­mained in con­trol of their own des­tiny and fi­nally reached the Holy Grail.

“When the fi­nal whis­tle blew, ev­ery­one was ab­so­lutely de­lighted but the over­rid­ing feel­ing was just re­lief more than any­thing.

“When you see your fam­ily come in and ev­ery­one is bawl­ing, it re­ally hits home that you have fi­nally done it. I have never seen the likes of it. The emo­tion across ev­ery­one, it wasn’t just us want­ing to win it was the whole parish.

“I am an ex­tremely proud Mourne­abbey woman. Peo­ple would ask me am I proud of the medals and win­ning the All-Ire­land but I am ac­tu­ally more proud of the girls and proud of Mourne­abbey.”

Lynsey Noone of Kilk­er­rin-Clon­berne in ac­tion against Cathy Ann Stack of Mourne­abbey.

Mourne­abbey’s Eimear Meaney in ac­tion against West Cork’s Eimear Kiely.

Mourne­abbey’s San­dra Con­roy is tack­led by St Val’s Ciara McCarthy dur­ing the semi-fi­nal at De­lanys.

Mourne­abbey man­ager Shane Ron­ayne.

Ciara O’Sul­li­van, Mourne­abbey, loses her foot­ing in front of goals with only the West Cork goal­keeper Martina O’Brien left to beat.

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