Mourneabbey history-maker: ‘I think this is a good way to keep me fit for the wedding’

Mourneabbey history-maker: ‘I think this is a good way to keep me fit for the wedding’
Mourneabbey players who have won Junior, Intermediate and Senior All-Ireland titles, from left, Ciara Harrington, Róisín O'Sullivan, Rebecca Larkin, Ciara O'Sullivan , Eimear Harrington, Cathy Ann Stack, Sandra Conroy, Sile O'Callaghan and Kathryn Coakley following the All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Club Championship Final match between Foxrock-Cabinteely, Dublin, and Mourneabbey, Cork, at Parnell Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile.

Fourteen years ago, Síle O’Callaghan was among Mourneabbey’s history-makers as they won their first All-Ireland club title at junior level.

The IFC title came two years later, before a dramatic win over Foxrock-Cabinteely saw them land the senior crown last December.

Now the Cork giants are bidding for back-to-back glory, with O’Callaghan seeking is a glorious closing chapter to her club career.

The 34-year-old has seen good days and bad during her many dedicated years of service

Two of the lowest points of O’Callaghan’s footballing life came against Donaghmoyne, who defeated them in the 2015 All-Ireland decider and the semi-final a year later.

On Sunday, Mourneabbey — and O’Callaghan — get their chance to avenge those losses when they host the Ulster champions (Clyda Rovers, 1pm).

“Disappointment is what I associate with playing Donaghmoye. We have had a few tough losses, and they are an excellent team,” said O’Callaghan, who lines out alongside younger sister Maire this weekend.

It’s been a few years since we played so hopefully we might have grown up. Hopefully, we’ll have the edge at the weekend but it’s hard to know, not having played them in a few years.

O’Callaghan admits defeat on Sunday will bring down the curtain on her playing days.

In 2017, a ruptured Achilles tendon sidelined her for a year, though coming back to fitness and making an appearance off the bench in last year’s final brought her a huge sense of satisfaction.

Yet a wish to finish on her terms drove her back into the starting team in 2019.

“It is special this year. 2017 was an abrupt end. When the injury happened initially, I hadn’t intended playing again. I am being very clichéd, but I wanted to end on my own terms. I wanted to decide myself to stop playing, rather than have an injury decide for me.

“This year I feel I have been able to play everything, I am happy that this will be my last year.

“I am getting married on December 20 this year too, so I think this is a good way to keep me fit for the wedding!”

The class of ’05 has been reduced to seven survivors following the departures of Cathy Ann Stack and Ciara Harrington last year. Along with O’Callaghan, Ciara O’Sullivan, Roisin O’Sullivan, Sandra Conroy, Rebecca Larkin, Catherine Coakley, and Eimear Harrington have been ever-presents.

Last year we had nine players who had won all three All-Irelands: the junior, intermediate and senior. Some of them were absolute tots back then.

"Ciara O’Sullivan was just 15 when we won the junior. Even though I was 20, I was still one of the oldest on the team. It seems as if I have been one of the oldest on the team forever!

"We were so excited when we won the junior and we were actually then eligible to play senior league and championship in Cork.

"To think we have progressed on to win the Senior Club All-Ireland last year is just amazing. I couldn’t have imagined it.”

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