Earlier, much of that same crowd had lined the platform at Cork’s Kent Station to welcome home our senior camogie team, holders of 26 All-Ireland titles, back-to-back winners, and already setting their sights on three-in-a-row.
Celeste Corrigan, mother of senior squad member Sarah Fahy, was there with friend Mary Ring and Mary’s 11-year-old daughter Sharon. How was she feeling? Tired and emotional?
“Don’t even start, I’m holding back the tears,” she said. “I am so so proud”.
Ann and Denis O’Keeffe were there in support of another senior player, Niamh O’Keeffe. Charlie the Jack Russell was with them, at the strict instructions of Niamh.
“We had a great day at the match. Our two sons, Shane and Mark, are in Vancouver and Perth so we were Face-timing them. There was great excitement,” Ann said.
Over on South Mall a crowd of a couple of hundred gave it up for the girls. Deputy Lord Mayor Mick Nugent drew a roar of approval when he said: “We had to leave it to the women this year to bring back the silverware.”
Monsignor Kevin O’Callaghan, who was deputising for Bishop John Buckley, said the bishop had given them a blessing before they travelled for the match but that the words of Paudie Murray carried far greater weight. “I’ve no doubt he told them to give glory to the people of Cork, and they did bring glory,” he said.
He gave a special shout-out to Rena Buckley on the bishop’s behalf saying: “I know the bishop loves to be associated with important people, that’s why he claims to be related to Rena.”
Diarmuid O’Donovan county board senior administrator, said there was only two places Cork people wanted to be in September: Croke Park or on South Mall with the winning cup. And now they had the winning O’Duffy Cup.
And then it was time for Ashling Thompson, camogie’s new poster girl, who certainly has charisma in spades.
“I actually hate talking,” she began, before launching into a lively and entertaining speech. She drew roars of approval when she said: “I love being an underdog, I love to prove people wrong.”
And she had a message for the heads in charge of selecting “Manager of the Year”.
“I’m putting my marker down now. If Paudie [Murray] doesn’t get Manager of the Year this year, I’m coming after ye.”