Plenty of history made as Mourneabbey end long wait for All-Ireland glory

1. Mourneabbey’s long wait for All-Ireland glory finally ended


2018 champions: Mourneabbey.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Those were the words thrown around over and over as the final whistle sounded in Parnell Park and Mourneabbey were crowned All-Ireland champions after four years of hurt and heartbreak.

Cork and Munster champions the last five campaigns in-a-row, the Dolores Tyrrell Memorial Cup had been elusive. So close but yet so far, Shane Ronayne’s side had fallen short in the 2014, 2015 and 2017 finals and the 2016 semi-final.

There was a real sense that this was it. It was 2018 or never, and that coveted silverware is finally set to spend the Christmas in Cork. Four years oh hurt and heartbreak erased. At last.

2. Realms of history made 

It was of course Mourneabbey’s first All-Ireland senior title, while the wait goes on for Foxrock-Cabinteely to have their name etched onto the trophy.

The Cork side have now completed an historic treble after lifting the All-Ireland junior title in 2005 and adding the intermediate crown to their cabinet in 2007. They become the first-ever ladies football club in the country to make it three titles across three grades.

There’s a small group that have been there since ’05, and of the nine titles available to ladies club footballers — county, provincial and All-Ireland at all three grades — they finally have all nine.

3. Big names shining on the biggest stage 

Off the back of her first TG4 All-Star award last week, Doireann O’Sullivan proved once again that she is one of the best forwards in the country. 

Doireann O’Sullivan in action.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Named Player of the Match, and rightly so, she stepped up when it mattered most and chipped in with some serious scores. Two minutes into the game, she had two inspirational points to her name, and that set the tone.

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Likewise, her sister, Ciara put on a stunning display and exemplified the fight and character in this special Mourneabbey team. Sinead Goldrick and Niamh Collins on the other side, showed huge bravery in defence and never gave up despite trailing throughout.

4. The complete performance

In years past, Mourneabbey have struggled to well and truly spark to life in All-Ireland finals. Players and management say that they have never performed on the big day, but they really did last night.

Their dream start helped, of course. O’Sullivan’s two massive efforts set them on their way and lifted their confidence before Fox-Cab were reduced to 14 players in the fourth minute with Emma McDonagh sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle.

By the time she returned, it was 0-8 to 0-1. They played some incredible football throughout, their attacking play was exemplary and above all, they stayed relaxed and composed — something they probably didn’t do on other occasions.

5. What happens next?

Mourneabbey’s Kathryn Coakley and Rebecca Larkin celebrate winning.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

With the same teams dominating the landscape of the All-Ireland series year in, year out, it’s hard not to see Mourneabbey and Foxrock-Cabinteely there or thereabouts again next year.

That said, now that Mourneabbey have finally reached the Holy Grail and have got what they wanted, some players may take a step away and do things they’ve held off doing in their personal lives over the past few years. It’ll be interesting to see if Ronayne stays on, considering the journey he’s taken them on coming to an end and his continued involvement with the Tipperary ladies.

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For Fox-Cab, it’s a long way back. They’ve been here before in 2016 and bounced back accordingly. And undoubtedly with youth on their side and under a great management team, they’ll do the same again.

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