TWO Cork players were named on the TG4 Ladies All-Star football team for 2021.
Both were first time winners as defender Erika O'Shea and midfielder Hannah Looney picked up awards.
The final 15 was revealed at the TG4 All Star awards banquet, in association with Lidl, at Dublin’s Bonnington Hotel on Saturday night.
Cork's Róisín Phelan, Eimear Meaney, Melissa Duggan, Sadhbh O’Leary, and Eimear Scally were also nominated for awards.
It was a dash to Dublin for the awards ceremony for Melissa Duggan who lined out with her club Dohenys in the Cork ladies football Junior A county final on Saturday afternoon. The game started at 12 noon and would have been expected to end at 1.15-1.30pm at the latest. However, it went to extra-time, at the end of which they were still level with Castlehaven.
A 30-metre shoot-out was then called for to separate the sides, with the Haven eventually winning on round 10 of the shoot-out which finished just before 3pm.
So a disappointed Duggan then had to dash to Dublin for the awards ceremony. Ironically had there been no game she would have been there in no time as Melissa now lives in Dublin, just around the corner from the awards venue.
But it was a night of celebration for Macroom star O'Shea who has been a rising light in Cork ladies football over the last few seasons as she made the transition from minor to senior star.
Amazingly Erika did not feature on any Cork team until the minor grade but she never gave up on her ambition to wear the Rebel red. After making the breakthrough at minor level it wasn't long before she was on the radar of then senior manager, Ephie Fitzgerald. And while still a minor Erika found herself called up to the senior squad in 2020, where she immediately made an impression.
Since then she has established herself as a mainstay of the side and no doubt will go on to win many more awards with Cork.
The only surprise in Looney's win was that it was the first for the Cork dual star.
And no doubt she will have been disappointed not to have been at the ceremony. She is currently in New York through work and was unable to attend the awards.
Looney had an outstanding season for the footballers and will be sorely missed when their league campaign starts next season. A teak-tough player that has been a mainstay on the team for a number of years.
Her versatility is key to her success and can line out in defence or midfield or even in the forward line if asked!
But it was her midfield displays this season that Hannah was honoured for the first time.
Overall it was no great surprise to see the All-Ireland champions, Meath, pick up eight awards. Dublin had three, Cork two with Mayo and Donegal having one each.
The All-Star team is Monica McGuirk (Meath); Emma Troy (Meath), Mary Kate Lynch (Meath), Leah Caffrey (Dublin); Erika O’Shea (Cork), Aoibhín Cleary (Meath), Orlagh Nolan (Dublin); Hannah Looney (Cork), Máire O’Shaughnessy (Meath); Hannah Tyrrell (Dublin), Rachel Kearns (Mayo), Niamh O’Sullivan (Meath); Vikki Wall (Meath), Emma Duggan (Meath), Geraldine McLaughlin (Donegal).
Meath's Vikki Wall was also named the 2021 TG4 Senior Players' Player of the Year.