IT has been a long time coming, 15 years in fact, and two babies later, waiting to win the CWSSL Premier division league title.
Last week Douglas Hall captured the CWSSL league for the first time in the club's history and centre-half and club stalwart Emma McCarthy, after 15 seniors playing senior, finally got her hands on the long awaited trophy.
A title that has been dominated by Wilton United, 11 titles in 20 years with Riverstown, Lakewood, and Ballincollig sharing the others, but for now this year belongs to Douglas Hall, who richly deserved the title based on their 10 wins from 10 so far this season.
McCarthy has been with the club since the age of seven and her presence in the back line has been key to Hall's performances over the past number of seasons.
So much so, that her absence for two seasons while having children, proved to be a huge loss to the Hall.
Returning this season and winning the clubs ever first league title has been one of the highlights of her career.
“Up until this week, winning the Intermediate cup in 2013 was a highlight for me, however a league title was what I longed for and I said I wouldn’t retire until I won it, so to eventually win it was fantastic.
"But whether or not I’ll retire yet is another thing,” laughs McCarthy.
Retirement is definitely not on the cards just yet as the Douglas team have so much to play for this season.
They have an Intermediate cup final to look forward to on July 24th, two local cups and this weekend they compete in the senior cup against National league side Sligo.
A busy period but one in which the mother of two is delighted to be part of.
“It’s great to be involved in so much at this stage of the season.
"Winning the league for the first time was a great feeling! In the last five years we have been really contending for the league so to finally get our hands on it, it felt good."
Wilton have been the team to dominate for so long and in recent times there has been a few other teams to close the gap.
While those teams have suffered due to their underage players signing to play National league teams, and thus, very little coming through to their senior team, other clubs have taken advantage of this, and it has made the Cork league more competitive.
“I think the league is still competitive and I feel we’ve really worked hard especially this season.
"It’s not just our starting 11, it’s the entire squad. We had a few injuries early in the season with Rebecca Walsh and Emma Farmer, both being great players, and a loss to the squad but the girls have done brilliant!
"Tracey (O’Donovan) has been a brilliant addition between the posts while Maggie (Duncliffe), Amy McCarthy and Stacey Paul are very strong through the centre this year.
"We are extremely strong at the back and with pace up front from Alison (O’Connell), Cara (Lacey) and Aoibhe (Noonan) teams are finding us hard to cope with this year.
"To win the league took more than just this years hard work.
“I’d like to mention Eileen Ring, Donna O’Leary, Miriam O’Riordan and Megan O’Keefe who have been a huge part of the club and I am gutted that they weren’t on the pitch this season and in particular last week to win the league.
“Apart from players there has been people working behind the scenes that have played a huge part in the clubs success.
"The work Noreen Martin and Mary Ring do begins the scenes is incredible.
“John O’Mahony, Adam Cambridge, Alfie and Shane have done a great job this year and not to mention Irene McCarthy our water lady and number one supporter.
“I stepped away in 2014 as I had a baby and again in 2021 for the same reason! I came back too quickly after 2014 and I just felt it wasn’t the right time for me!
"Being a mum was number one for me! There has always been a certain level of expectation players and managers want from me and I just couldn’t give the team what they needed honestly.
"I felt like my passion for the game was gone! If it wasn’t for the likes of Noreen Martin and Eileen Ring (who was the manager on my return) I don’t know if I would have found my love for soccer again! But I’m glad I did.”
Once they made the final four of the Intermediate cup they automatically qualified for the senior cup in which they will play this weekend against Sligo.
Maybe a tough test ahead but one in which the vocal and powerful centre half is positive about.
“It will be a great experience no matter the outcome. We hope to go up there and hopefully give them a run for their money and if not it’s always great to play a team from a higher level!
"Every game is a learning curve and hopefully we will come away with something in preparation for our intermediate cup final on July 24th.
“We will play Whitehall in the final and it is brilliant to get a home draw. It’s always great to have a little advantage.
"Let’s hope we can get a good support out on the day.”