Up for Mourneabbey
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.