Sophie Hudner fired Riverstown to a stunning Cork soccer double

Hudner's move to the Cork club has helped them rise to the top on Leeside and her reward is recognition in the popular Echo Women in Sport awards
Sophie Hudner fired Riverstown to a stunning Cork soccer double

Riverstown's Sophie Hudner and Lakewood's Sinead Kelly tussle for a loose ball during the GE Healthcare CWSSL Senior Womens Premier league match at Lakewood. Picture: Howard Crowdy

RIVERSTOWN were crowned champions two years in a row in the women’s CWSSL Senior League.

One name always hit the headlines as Sophie Hudner proved to be the difference between many teams throughout the season scoring an average of two goals per game.

That achievement saw her picked as one of the Autumn Echo Women in Sport award winners.

Born in Kilkenny but spending most of her life in Limerick, the pacy striker moved to Cork two years ago and has been a huge addition to the Glanmire club ever since. She has been influential in Rivertown’s attacks whether as a striker or a winger, she was always a threat and hence why she is a worthy winner of this award.

Here the former National league player tells us of her journey in Cork to date.

“I joined Riverstown in 2019 after I left Limerick FC,” said Hudner.

“It was the best decision I ever made as there is a great atmosphere amongst the team. Everyone respects and encourages each other. New players are always welcome, and everyone enjoys the successes together.

“We always do it for each other on the pitch.

“For me this season was so enjoyable. Each game was a battle, against very strong opponents. Our coaches Mick, Rob, Ian, Ken and Paul put in such a big effort with every one of us throughout the season.

“They always go above and beyond for our players. Their encouragement and belief in us is what made it all happen. Our club is proud to be double champions two years in a row.

“We won every game except one when we lost to Wilton at the start of the season. It was definitely the one game that drove us on for each and every other game following that.

“The battle against Wilton at the end of the season was the most rewarding game we played. We were eager to beat the one team that beat us so it was great to do so.

Sophie Hudner and her sister Claudia Hudner
Sophie Hudner and her sister Claudia Hudner

“My sister joined us mid-season on holidays from Abu Dhabi. I loved having my sister beside me on the pitch just like the old days. Myself, my Mom and my sister analysed each match the whole way home.

“It’s a very competitive league. We didn’t win any game without a fight.

“Ladies soccer in Cork is of a very high standard with some players having previously played in the national league and on the Irish team.

“I played as a striker most of the season and sometimes on the wing also. I am proud to say I scored 28 goals in 15 games.

“I enjoyed making runs through the middle on attacks and creating chances for other players to score also. Scoring two goals in the cup final in extra time in the space of three minutes was definitely a highlight for me.

“One off my left foot and one off my right foot.

“I grew up in a soccer mad family. I first joined Charleville when I moved
from Kilkenny to Limerick when I was seven.
“I later joined Kilmallock Utd. where my sister Claudia was playing and we won many cups. I played for Limerick County in the Gaynor Cup for four years where we made history for Limerick coming second in the competition.

“I played for Munster schools, emerging talent and later went on to play for Limerick FC. in their first year entering WNL. I really enjoyed playing for my college CIT for the last four years where I was also chairperson.

Knowledge

“I play seven-a-side with the boys to keep up my fitness. Their strength and knowledge of the game have taught me a lot over the years. 

To me success is temporary, happiness is permanent. I’m just happy to be on the pitch doing what I love.”

While some players like to rest during the off-season the 23-year-old Marketing graduate will keep as busy as ever but this time picking up a Hurley as she focuses on camogie.

“To keep up my fitness I now turn to camogie for the next few months with Charleville. To win an award for doing something I absolutely love is priceless.

Sophie Hudner (right) pictured with team mate Michaela O’Rourke celebrating the league and cup double
Sophie Hudner (right) pictured with team mate Michaela O’Rourke celebrating the league and cup double

“I am so honoured and I couldn’t have done it without my team of best friends, my supportive coaches and my parents for all their belief and support throughout my life.

“My mom has driven me to every single game and always shown such pride on the sideline. Soccer has always been my passion and it is my favourite part of the week.

“This award is a reminder that doing what you love is the biggest achievement of all.”

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