One of the greatest ever, Cork's Gemma O'Connor retires from inter-county camogie

The Barrs legend retires from the inter-county game as the holder of nine senior All-Ireland medals and as the holder of the most All-Star awards in camogie, 11.
One of the greatest ever, Cork's Gemma O'Connor retires from inter-county camogie

Cork's Gemma O'Connor in action against Offaly's Orlaigh Kirwan in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship at Pairc Ui Rinn. Pic: Gavin Browne

CORK'S legendary camogie star Gemma O’Connor has called time on her illustrious inter-county career today after 19 years of wearing the red and white senior jersey for Cork.

A Holder of nine All Ireland titles and 11 All Stars in addition to National League and Munster championship titles Gemma has won it all and nationally is an icon of the game.

Her announcement wasn’t entirely unexpected but a shock all the same when we spoke earlier. 

She will continue to play club camogie with her beloved St Finbarr's.

We’ll miss her tremendous leadership on the field, her versatility, her incredible athleticism, her work rate, tough defending and wonderful scores. 

Here in Cork, we’ll never forget her magnificent long distance equaliser in the 2017 final in the closing minutes before Julia White popped up with the injury time winner to defeat Kilkenny.

An emotional Gemma speaking earlier said it was a hard decision to make.

"It was a tough decision. I never even want to say the words that I’m not going back or I’m retiring. 

"I never envisaged myself saying it but I suppose the last year has been hard in that respect. It was coming. 

"I’m getting married on the 10th of July and obviously that’s a priority. But really I said to myself, what am I waiting for?

Gemma O'Connor, Cork Senior Camogie team signing a shirt for Ciara O'Driscoll, Enniskeane
Gemma O'Connor, Cork Senior Camogie team signing a shirt for Ciara O'Driscoll, Enniskeane

"I think I’ve spent so many years in the last five years, I suppose over all of my career, doubling, tripling, quadrupling jobbing and it just got a bit too hectic and I just thought look I need to ultimately make the decision and go with it.

"I’ve had a wonderful career; I’ve played with magnificent players and had some wonderful managers. 

"I’ve had a great relationship with Paudie Murray over the past number of years and we’ve had some tremendous wins."

Trying to pick out special moments is hard but Gemma does say that the 2017 and 2018 victories over Kilkenny by a single point in the finals was something special, the little bit of luck and that split second decision to grab it which saw them over the line.

"I’d like to thank my club, Marian McCarthy and the county board for the wonderful support they have given me, my teammates and managements and I wish the girls every success for the future.

"Cork are in a transitional period with a number of young players now coming through and with that and some of the older girls taking on a more leadership role they’ll be coming strong."

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