'Gemma O'Connor is the ultimate ambassador for St Finbarr's club'

Cork camogie legend retired with nine All-Irelands and 11 All-Stars
'Gemma O'Connor is the ultimate ambassador for St Finbarr's club'

Gemma O'Connor on the ball for St Finbarr's against Killeagh last season. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

ST Finbarr’s senior camogie selector Marian McCarthy has praised the considerable impact Gemma O’Connor made with the Cork senior team during her illustrious inter-county career.

During her 16-year career with the Rebels, the Barrs ace won nine All-Ireland titles and 11 All-Stars in addition to National League and Munster championship titles. She has left behind a huge legacy.

“She will go down as one of the best ever. She had it all. She had skill and heart. She was a superb player.

“That equalising score in Croke Park in 2017 will live long in the memory. She made a huge contribution to all the success Cork enjoyed. She achieved everything in the game. She owes Cork nothing.”

Gemma O'Connor celebrates with St Finbarr's supporters after defeating Galway in the 2015 All-Ireland final. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Gemma O'Connor celebrates with St Finbarr's supporters after defeating Galway in the 2015 All-Ireland final. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Gemma decided to step away from her inter-county career at the start of this year. The former county board chairperson always knew Gemma was destined for a bright future.

“As a Barrs club person, we all watched on with so much pride as she enjoyed so much success with Cork. She was a great ambassador for the club. She had such a natural talent.

She joined the Barrs when she was 10. She was a standout even at that age. We all knew from the very start that she was going to be a top player.

“She thrived under the great coaching she received from so many good coaches within the club.”

The experienced star will still continue to line out for her beloved Barrs much to the delight of Marian.

“We are delighted she will continue playing for us. The split season last year meant that she trained with us on a regular basis last year which was so beneficial.

“She is a great role model for all the younger players. We are hoping that one day she might go into a coaching capacity with the club. Gemma was a key player in our only senior county final success to date in 2006.

“We have suffered a lot of heartache since, but hopefully now she will lead us to more success.”

The Barrs have had a good bit of success in the underage ranks in recent years which augurs well for the club.

“We have a lot of very good young players. We have very good coaches and a good committee driving the club on.

“We have been beaten in the semi-final stages in the last two years. We are hopeful of a good run in this year’s senior championship.

“It is a very competitive grade with all 15 teams harbouring dreams of county glory. The club is in a very strong place. The future is bright.”

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