“Getting to play in an All-Ireland final in Croke Park is so special, it was great to be captain last year and heartbreaking to have lost but to captain Cork against this year I am so proud to do so.
“It’s a huge honour and one I really appreciate, I have huge faith in our team and I know we will give it everything to bring the title back.”
Niamh comes from a family who are very much involved in all things GAA. Dad Denis is an Erin’s Own man through and through and is also very much involved in the ladies football club.
“My Dad is vice chair of the ladies football and he was also chairman of the boys juvenile club a few years ago, my dad was the one who got us all playing hurling and football his love for the game filtered down to us.”
The “us” Niamh speaks about are her two older brothers Shane and Mark.
Shane is now eight years in Australia and Mark is now in New Zealand having previously lived in Canada for two years so it’s just Niamh and of course her beloved dog Charlie at home with mum and dad, but soon she will be taking a short trip away also.
“I just love teaching but I’m taking a short career break to travel after the All-Ireland. It will only be short as I don’t intend being away for long.”
Charlie, the madra, is the primary school teacher’s biggest fan, a title held jointly with dad Denis who can be seen at every single game and at venues everywhere with the faithful family pet in tow. Mum Ann is also a big supporter of Niamh’s and goes to all the games.
At this stage Charlie is the team mascot.
Niamh played U16 with Cork and won Munster honours. In 2014 she was a member of the Intermediate side that took the Division 2 National League title but last year’s defeat in the All-Ireland final is one that is remembered and still hurts.
“We went into that game against Kilkenny very well prepared and really just a puck of a ball separated us but looking back we were a bit green. We know what to expect this year we are all a year older and we have learned from losing at final at that level and we also have the experience of winning the league title this year.”
Wise words from someone who’s professional life is imparting knowledge, a primary school teacher in Gaelscoil Uí Ríordáin Ballincollig where she is permanently employed the last two years.
Niamh spent three great years in Scoil Inseratha Little Island before securing her permanent role in Ballincollig.
Niamh is well known for her love of the Irish language and always insists that her name appears as Gaelige on all programmes and match reports;
“I went to primary school in Glounthaune and I then went on to Coláiste an Phiarsaigh as I have a lover for the Irish language and it was great there.
“I went on to college Mary Immaculate and I just always wants to teach in a gaelscoil.”
Despite playing her camogie with Killeagh Niamh is an Erin’s Own woman through and through.
“I consider Erin’s Own my home club, I play football there and I started my camogie with the club with Hilda Keohane in charge when I was about seven or eight.
“We won a Junior C championship when I was around 16 but after that the team faded away and we didn’t have any adult team. I was playing senior with Imokilly at the time and I was told I had to have a club to continue playing. I knew a lot of the Killeagh girls from playing with Imokilly so I just went and joined Killeagh.
“Kevin O’Connor was in charge of the team and made me so welcome I love it there I’m six years playing with Killeagh.”
Niamh still charts Erin’s Own progress and is glad to see camogie at underage level back in the club:
“It’s great to see camogie there again and to see all the young girls lining out in the club colours.”
Having picked up the Rochestown Park 96/103fm Award for April Niamh says it was a huge honour.
“I was stunned to get the call and I accepted it not just for myself but for a great group of girls and mentors, it great to see camogie getting recognized at these awards as a lot great players have been honoured with it and I am humbled to have been chosen.”
Sunday’s opposition are no strangers and the Cork leader knows they will be tough.
“Meath are very strong they played senior league this year and it stood to them, they did well against a lot of the strong teams and they be no push over but we know what to expect having lost out to them earlier in the year.”
Hopefully on Sunday, Niamh and her team will get the day off to a perfect start for Cork and she will be the one making the trip up the steps to collects the Jack McGrath Cup to add to the National League trophy sitting proudly at home.