Rebel warrior O'Reilly signs off after her 11th senior All-Ireland medal

Rebel warrior O'Reilly signs off after her 11th senior All-Ireland medal
All-Ireland winners Deirdre O'Reilly, Briege Corkery, Geraldine O'Flynn, Valerie Mulcahy, Bríd Stack and Rena Buckley. Picture: INPHO/Donall Farmer

ELEVEN-TIME senior All-Ireland winner Deirdre O'Reilly has confirmed she has retired from intercounty football after a hugely impressive 15-year career.

"It's official alright right. All done," O'Reilly said with a smile, following revelations on Cork's Red FM on Saturday evening by Cork coach Ephie Fitzgerald that O'Reilly would not feature in 2017.

One of the game's toughest defenders - realised by the fact that she has won five ladies football All-Stars - O'Reilly made her senior debut aged just 15. 

During a Munster Senior Championship game against Waterford in Fraher Field, O'Reilly, who was still only playing U16 and minor for Cork at the time, was asked down from the stand to tog out.

O'Reilly's older sister, Sinead, had been playing, and the duo would go on to win three senior All-Ireland medals together with Cork under coach Eamonn Ryan and manager Mary Collins.

O'Reilly came on as a substitute in her first senior All-Ireland final win in 2005 against Galway, and in fact won her second playing centre-forward in 2006 against Armagh.

Known for her incredible strength, O'Reilly moved to the rearguard but on numerous occasions took the game by the scruff of the neck, rushing forward from defence to sling over vital points.

O'Reilly also holds two All-Ireland club football medals, having won the junior and intermediate club All-Ireland titles in 1999 and 2000 respectively with Rockchapel.

Meanwhile, Eimear Scally’s late goal wrapped up Cork’s fourth victory of the Lidl Ladies National Football League campaign – and kept the Leesiders at the top of Division 1.

Cork travelled to St Clones and saw off Monaghan by 2-14 to 1-12, as the hosts lost for the fourth time in five outings.

Monaghan were leading by a point, 1-10 to 1-9, when Rachel McKenna was sin-binned in the 47th minute.

And it proved a costly setback for the Farney girls as Cork outscored them by 1-5 to 0-1 while McKenna spent 10 minutes off the pitch.

Scally’s goal with three minutes left was the insurance score, as the Cork forward maintained the impressive form that saw her claim an O’Connor Cup medal with University of Limerick last weekend.

Cork had also struck the game’s opening goal, Niamh Cotter’s strike helping them to lead by 1-2 to 0-1.

But Monaghan, with points from Rosemary and Cora Courtney, were level at 0-6 to 1-3 by the 20th minute.

Cora Courtney pushed Monaghan a point clear but with All-Star Orla Finn in free-scoring form for Cork, they regained the initiative.

In stoppage time at the end of the first half, however, Monaghan netted a goal of their own, Ciara McAnespie on target, and that effort saw them lead by 1-8 to 1-6 at the break.

Monaghan managed to keep daylight between themselves and the visitors but down to 14 players following McKenna’s dismissal, they couldn’t hold out as the champions eased to victory.

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