IT'S almost a year to the day that Glanmire Ladies Junior footballers began training ahead of the 2018 season.
What was to follow seemed to have surpassed expectations to the extent that it even surprised some of the players involved as Cork, Munster and All-Ireland titles were secured.
One of the players who was instrumental in that success was Kate Hannon with the full-forward scoring 11 points to earn the Player of the Match award in the national final.
“It still hasn’t sunk in really,” said Hannon.
“People keep coming up to you and people from the parish keep saying well done and stuff. Once you get that all Ireland medal you are pinching yourself, it’s mad.
“You think about winning it for so long it was obviously the dream to win it with your club especially, it was always our goal.
“I know we won Junior B last year and we said if we push on we definitely believe we could win the Junior A but anything after the county was bonus territory.
“It was always the dream to win it but you never expect it until it actually happens and yeah it was fab.
“When it was such a long year as well it takes an awful lot of commitment and it takes everyone pulling together to get what we achieved really.”
That commitment to the cause was pushed to the limits during the run to the All Ireland final as the club were required to travel to Coventry in the United Kingdom for the quarter-final, Tyrone for the semis and then Ballinasloe for the showpiece occasion.
“There was definitely a lot of effort that went into it and we can’t really thank the committee at the club or the management enough for helping us,” added Hannon.
“The lengths they went to to get us to games. On the one hand, we were lucky a few of them were in Mallow but then when we had to go to Coventry we all had to take a step back and say 'right, how are we going to do this.'
“In fairness, everyone stepped up to the plate it took a big effort but in that way as well I think it helped us because of all the bonding.
“We will never really get a trip like that again so it really was the experience of a lifetime.
“We all chipped in and in fairness to all the local businesses they gave us a ridiculous amount of money.
“Supervalu in Glanmire were so good to us as well in that way but we all just went selling tickets, asking people we know and all the girls rallied around so it was brilliant.
“It seemed like there were people coming out of the woodwork to help us which was brilliant.” The final pitted Glanmire against a talented Tourlestrane side and despite a late rally from the Sligo outfit, the Cork side dug deep to hang onto the win.
“It was a great game,” said Hannon.
“Tourlestrane kept coming back at us and it was 3-11 they got in the end even though at times the game looked over, to be honest.
“In fairness, they kept coming back and Ava Carey in goal really kept us in the match, she made about four point-blank saves.
“Niamh McAllen got 1-7 from play so it was a team effort. They weren’t going to give up they literally threw the kitchen sink at us.
“I watched the match back about a week later and I definitely think that either Ava or Niamh were up there as well but it was brilliant.
“Personally it was great especially with my mom and dad being involved with the team as well that makes it even more special it was great to have them there on the day.”
For the Glanmire Ladies footballers, pre-season is almost upon them again as Hannon and co look to add more honours to their already extensive list.
“We actually got a text last week off our manager about pre-season training for this year. It’s almost time to get back into the gym again it wasn’t long coming around, we are last year’s champions at this stage,” she jokes before insisting “I have a few trophies at home now but hopefully there is still more to come.”