If it was the UEFA Champions League, the Brendan Martin Cup would long be a permanent fixture Leeside because the Champions League trophy becomes the property of any club that wins the competition five times.

To give Cork Senior Ladies’ Footballers their dues, no other team in the country has come anywhere close to their magnificient achievement of six All-Ireland wins in a row and 11 in 12 years.

They’re the kind of team that make superlatives hard to come by, populated by unstoppable dual stars like Rena Buckley and Briege Corkery, with Rena named Player of the Match on account of another outstanding performance for her county on Sunday.

And so in a show of appreciation for the hard yards this mighty team has put in over the years, a nice-sized homecoming crowd turned out on Cork’s South Mall last night to cheer and thank the girls who have provided so much entertainment and excitement and shown such sterling example for other young hopefuls now coming up through the ranks.

Among them was Cara Cahalane, herself a winner of the u-16 county title with Carrigtwohill. Also in the crowd were her father Sean and mum, Lisa. “A group of us went up for the match on Sunday, it was Cara’s first time in Croke Park and she said to me ‘Dad, some day I’m going to play here,” Sean said.

Even as the rain poured down, spirits were high as young girls pressed towards the stage in Red FM ponchos asking for their heroes to autograph posters and flags - and the footballers obliged.

Captain Ciara O’Sullivan got a rousing reception as she took the mic to thank the management team. “We’re all heading to Mourne Abbey tonight and you’re welcome to come,” she told an appreciate crowd.

Manager Ephie Fitzgerald was described as “a man of few words” and he lived up to his reputation but did manage to thank all those who travelled to Croke Park or turned up for the homecoming celebration.

“It was great to win the match but to be honest it’s nights like tonight that will live in my memory forever,” he said.


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