It had been a long week for the club’s senior ladies football team; three games in eight days Mourneabbey had to contend with.
They rolled with the punches and pulling out of Mallow GAA grounds on Saturday evening, both their Cork and provincial titles had been successfully defended - Ballymacarbry put to the sword on a scoreline of 3-18 to 0-14.
Enough praise Gallagher simply could not heap on his players.
“Their character is immense,” said the Mourneabbey manager. “They were put up against this fixture list, they were put in this very unfair situation. They never spent too much time complaining about it. There was a steely resolve there that we are not going to be messed around as a group. Their attitude was ‘we are going to go out and do our job’. They brought their anger out in their football. That situation should never happen. No team should be put in the situation we were put in. If you asked me before the game what kind of a response I wanted, the performance they gave was the response I wanted. We are delighted with their performance. They are a superb bunch.” Ahead by the minimum at half-time, 0-9 to 0-8, the threat of “mental fatigue” concerned the manager.
“It would be wrong to say we didn’t have our worries because we had never been put in that position before. We do have a lot of faith in the girls’ inner strength, and their belief in their own fitness levels and their ability to get through it. We felt a lot of the fatigue would be in the head. We knew they were capable of overcoming the physical side of it, but they also needed to overcome the mental side of it. We spoke about that at half-time. The girls did exactly what we asked them to do in the second-half. They just opened up and forgot about the week they had.” Four unanswered points directly upon the change of ends put the North Cork outfit in the driving seat. Laura Fitzgerald’s goal then on 46 minutes had them out of sight.
“The All-Ireland semi-final against the Connacht champions in five-weeks time is another big challenge, but we are delighted to be there. I don’t believe these girls have fulfilled their potential yet. To win an All-Ireland club title would be a massive achievement. I think the girls have improved from last year and if they can keep improving then we are in with a good chance.”
C O’Sullivan (1-6); D O’Sullivan (0-7, 0-6 frees); L Fitzgerald (1-2); K Coakley (1-0); N O’Sullivan (0-2); E Harrington, B O’Sullivan (0-1 each).
Sinead Ryan (0-8, 5 frees); A Wall (0-2); Marian Ryan, Shauna Ryan, Michelle Ryan, E Cooney (0-1 each).
M O’Sullivan; CA Stack, A O’Sullivan, E Meaney; K Healy, R O’Sullivan, E Coakley; M O’Callaghan, N O’Sullivan; S O’Callaghan, B O’Sullivan, E Harrington; D O’Sullivan, L Fitzgerald, C O’Sullivan.
E Forde for Stack (blood, 38-40), Forde for Healy (44), K Coakley for Fitzgerald (54), E Browne for E Coakley, L Crowley for Harrington (both 60).
L Fitzpatrick; B Hogan, M McGrath, T McGrath; L Mulcahy, K McGrath, M Wall; L Ryan, L Wall; D Hallahan, E Cooney, Marian Ryan; A Wall, Sinead Ryan, Michelle Ryan.
Shauna Ryan for Hogan (ht), L Guiry for Hallahan (53), B Desmond for Marian Ryan (61).
K Delahunty (Tipperary).