MOURNEABBEY continued their remarkable run in the Cork championship as they won back their title at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Last year, Mourneabbey lost out to West Cork in the decider as the divisional side prevented them from making it seven in a row. But this year they were hell-bent on winning back the title, to make it seven in eight years, a great achievement for any club.
They now have the opportunity to go on and try to retain the Munster and All-Ireland crowns that they won in 2019.
These competitions were not played last year so Mourneabbey are the reigning champions and a player who secured the All-Ireland title played an influential part again last Friday night.
In the 2019 All-Ireland decider, Laura Fitzgerald kicked the winning point in the last minute to see them crowned champions and her goal last Friday night was another crucial score in their 1-11 to 1-6 win.
The goal ensured they came from behind to go in level at the first-half water break and from there they drove on to victory, with Doireann O’Sullivan her main scoring partner in crime.
Between them, they scored 1-7 of their tally, with Eimear Scally hitting all of Éire Óg’s scores.
Fitzgerald was delighted to win back the title and said that last year’s loss was a huge motivating factor for them this season.
“Playing here is something special and we came out hungry after last year’s loss. We trained really hard since January and we knew what we had to do tonight. It’s class to win the title back again.
“The space just opened up and I had the player behind me and when you get in that close there is only one thing on a full-forward’s mind and that’s to hit the onion bag so I just did what we have been training to do and luckily enough it went in.
“We will definitely celebrate this win but the heads will go down again on Monday night and we will start preparing for the Munster campaign. There are serious teams coming out of all the counties so it will be heads-down again and working hard for the week and preparing for next weekend.”
Manager of the side, Shane Ronayne, praised his side for their hard work but also complimented Éire Óg on their season.
“It was a real tough battle as we knew it would be. They were very hard to break down. We would be happy with a lot of what we did, but at times we weren’t clinical enough,” said Shane.
“They were always dangerous and when Orlaith Cahalane came on she showed how good she can be, she nearly got a goal. But I’m delighted with the win, we had a few players that probably shouldn’t have been playing, like Ciara, with injuries.
“We left that decision up to her and she was prepared to do that and she was just one of a number of heroes out there.
I thought Maire O’Callaghan was outstanding and the amount of ball she won and her work-rate was superb.
“We created chances and hopefully the next day we can take more of them, but we will enjoy this for a day or two first before getting down to work again ahead of our Munster campaign.”