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Linda Mellerick, Cork, in action against Philly Fogarty, Tipperary, at Croke Park. Picture: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE
Linda Mellerick, Cork, in action against Philly Fogarty, Tipperary, at Croke Park. Picture: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE
SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

The Leeside legends series: Mellerick was an absolute colossus of Cork camogie

THE All-Ireland camogie final of 2002 was a classic game and one which brought the sport to a higher level in front an enthralled television audience.

Never before has a Cork versus Tipperary final generated such after-match discussion about the quality on show and the level of skill on show from the players. It ushered in the modern era of the game.

One of the most skillful players on display that day and one of the most talked about was Linda Mellerick who clinched her sixth All-Ireland winner’s medal.

All-Ireland joy in 1998. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
All-Ireland joy in 1998. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Linda was actually born in Tipperary in 1967, but moved to Cork at a very young age where she attended St Patrick’s school at Gardiner’s Hill. The school was canvassing for camogie players during her first year at secondary school and Linda decided to give it a go.

“To be honest I did not know what I was going to play and had no idea what type of sport camogie really was, but I was told by one of my friends that it was similar to hockey and that sounded fun,” said Linda.

As a 15-year-old, Mellerick joined Brian Dillon’s, and in recent years she's been involved as a mentor there, but after playing four years she switched to Glen Rovers.

Linda had to spend a year on the line, but moved into the Glen senior camogie team in 1990 after playing two seasons at junior and intermediate level.

The Glen were simply unstoppable during that period as they won seven Cork Senior championships from 1990 to 1996.

 Glen Rovers’ Linda Mellerick looking for a way round Imokilly’s Helena Barry during a County final clash.

Glen Rovers’ Linda Mellerick looking for a way round Imokilly’s Helena Barry during a County final clash.

Linda won five Munster championships and three All-Ireland club medals as well.

Mellerick had some special memories of her first All-Ireland club title when the Glen defeated St Paul’s who played under that name for the last time as they later came under the Lisdowney banner.

“To be honest the team that we had at the Glen was just something out of the ordinary as we had great players but most of all we had the most unbelievable team spirit that epitomised the whole team in general,” said Linda.

Linda added: “It was an honour to play with such a great gang of girls and I will forever remember the great times that we had as I made some great friends playing with the Glen and was just as important as winning medals.”

The Inter-county scene was just as successful for Mellerick as she won All-Ireland medals in 1992, ’93, ’95, ’97, ’98 and 2002.

Linda reflected on what it meant to represent your county.

Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE
Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

“I never realised what a great thrill of playing with your county was until I joined up with Cork set-up and it was amazing with some great days playing in Croke Park.

“I also count myself very lucky that I had the honour of captaining Cork twice to All-Ireland successes in 1993 and 1997 as both of these days were very special and I will always treasure those wonderful memories.”

The 1995 All-Ireland final was a very special for Linda and she played a huge role in helping Cork defeat arch-rivals Kilkenny in an epic final.

“That win stands out in my mind as I felt it was my best in a Cork jersey.

“Everyone was saying there was no way that we would beat Kilkenny and with the game the game in the melting pot we trailed by one point with a minute remaining.

“Amazingly we won by four points and Kilkenny looked shell-shocked at the final whistle but we were naturally over the moon.”

Linda Mellerick dives in to block the sliotar against Tipp. Picture: Aoife Rice/SPORTSFILE
Linda Mellerick dives in to block the sliotar against Tipp. Picture: Aoife Rice/SPORTSFILE

In the previous year, with Glen Rovers, Linda had suffered a shattering defeat to Lisdowney in the All-Ireland club final after having a nine-point cushion with 12 minutes remaining as four goals from the legendary Angela Downey killed their dream.

Mellerick pointed out that the switch from 12-a-side to 15-a-side was a great move for her beloved sport.

“It was the best thing that ever-happened camogie as it was strange when we played 12-a-side, a goalkeeper could puck the ball to the opposite keeper because we had smaller and tighter pitches.

“Some counties and clubs may have complained in the past that they couldn’t get 15 quality players but that’s down to development at juvenile level.”

Linda Mellerick retired from inter-county camogie after the epic 2002 All-Ireland final win over Tipperary. Two years later she was selected on the Camogie Team of the Century.

Linda Mellerick, who was named on the Camogie team of the Century, with then Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, and Miriam O'Callaghan. Picture: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE
Linda Mellerick, who was named on the Camogie team of the Century, with then Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, and Miriam O'Callaghan. Picture: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

Linda is regarded as a colossus of camogie and without doubt a fitting example for the up and coming players of the sport.

FACTFILE:

Linda Mellerick is the holder of five Munster championships and three senior All-Ireland championships, with Glen Rovers, and she is also the holder of seven consecutive Cork senior camogie championships, from 1990 to 1996.

In 1993 and 1997, Mellerick captained Cork to All-Ireland senior successes.

 Linda Mellerick with the O’Duffy Cup after Cork’s win over Galway in 1997.

Linda Mellerick with the O’Duffy Cup after Cork’s win over Galway in 1997.

She was born in Tipperary, in 1967, but moved to Cork as a young girl.

Linda began her club career with Brian Dillon’s, before joining Glen Rovers.

She retired from inter-county camogie in 2002.

Linda Mellerick is the weekly camogie columnist for The Echo.