CORK duo Stephen O'Mahony and David Collins recently played starring roles in helping Melbourne based senior football side Garyowen win the Padraig Pearses seven-a-side football tournament.
The tournament is held on an annual basis for every senior football club in Australia. This year was the first year Garryowen captured the prestigious championship title.
Six Cork players played key roles in propelling the host club to championship success. The six players were Tom Collins, David Collins, Alan Sheehan, Mark Quinn (all Dohenys players), Stephen O'Mahony (Gabriel Rangers) and former Cork senior football star Ciarán Sheehan.
Gabriel Rangers towering midfielder Stephen O'Mahony was thrilled to help his adopted club win championship honours.
"It was a great privilege to win the Padraig Pearses football tournament. The standard was very high and it was great to help Garryowen win the championship title for the first time in their history," revealed the former Cork underage football star.
Stephen who has also represented the Carbery senior football team with great distinction is loving life living in Melbourne and playing football for Garryowen.
"They are a great club to come out and be a part of. There is a great mix of players from throughout Ireland playing with them. They are a very family orientated club. It is great that there are so many players from Cork playing for them too, that was a big factor in me choosing to play for them. Obviously Gabriels are my club for life, but being out here I've really grown to love this club and playing with many West Cork men adds an incentive to proceedings. That makes it even more special being so far away from home."
Stephen relished linking up in particular with former Cork senior football star Ciarán Sheehan for the seven-a-side football tournament. The Éire Óg man underlined his true class with a series of inspirational performances throughout the Padraig Pearses championship tournament.
"It was a really good experience to play with Ciaran. He is a class act.
"The man has great knowledge and is obviously a brilliant asset to any team. He certainly settled the ship at times during the course of the championship.
"The layout and format of the tournament meant that we played a lot of games against quality opposition over a short period of time, which meant you had to have experienced heads in the camp and he helped us a lot."
There's a strong Dohenys theme running through their club. The four Dohenys players contributed immensely to their triumph revealed Stephen.
"The twins Tom and David Collins are unbelievable talents. They are great leaders and great ambassadors for the game. I've really enjoyed playing with them.
"Mark Quinn has been an absolute super addition to our team. He has a great eye for a goal. I was often on the other side of his brilliance playing against him back home in Cork.
"It is nice to have him on my side out here.
"Unfortunately Alan was injured for the tournament. He was a big loss to us on the field as he is a superb player, but his coaching abilities were a big factor in our success."
Despite living in Melbourne for well over a year, Stephen maintains a firm interest in all things back home, especially the fortunes of his beloved Gabriel Rangers. Stephen is hopeful they can enjoy a good run in the Intermediate championship this season.
Gabriel Rangers are scheduled to play St Finbarr's in the first round of the championship on Saturday next.
"Last year was a great learning curve for the club playing in the Intermediate championship for the first time in the club's history. The club also captured a league title.
"We also enjoyed excellent underage success last year which augurs very well for the club going forward. We have a very strong nucleus of talented players with a good mix of youth and experience which is always required in any team.
"If we keep improving, I am confident there will certainly be more silverware returning West. My heart still lies well and truly in Ballydehob and I'll be keeping a close eye on proceedings."
David Collins was thrilled his twin brother Tom was voted Player of the Tournament following a series of brilliant individual displays throughout the tournament.
"It was a great personal achievement and honour for Tom. It was well deserved. He was consistently good throughout all the games. He made some very important interceptions and a couple of great bursts up the field. His displays were integral factors in our championship success."
David himself played a starring role on the Garryowen senior football team who captured senior football championship success. The former Dohenys senior football star was delighted to secure championship success with his new club.
"It was an unbelievable feeling winning the tournament. We had to overcome a lot of very strong teams. It took us almost two years of trying, but we finally got our hands on a football medal in Australia. The standard was very high as most teams had former inter-county players.
"It was great to win the championship with so many other Cork players involved within the team. There are plenty of Cork accents to be heard throughout our club.
"Cork is probably the most dominant county within the Garryowen club. All the Cork players made a big contribution to our success."