Frank Browne: ‘Mayo needs Cora Staunton and ladies football needs her’

Mayo manager Frank Browne remains “reasonably confident” that footballer Cora Staunton will commit to a 23rd season of inter-county fare.

Frank Browne: ‘Mayo needs Cora Staunton and ladies football needs her’

Staunton is set to inform Browne before the weekend whether or not she intends to go again in the green and red, with fellow long-serving stars Martha Carter and Yvonne Byrne also mulling over their futures. The trio are close friends off the pitch and it’s understood that if one player decides to retire, the other two could do likewise.

Browne, speaking at yesterday’s Lidl Ladies National Football League launch, said: “All three or no three. I’m confident, but I’d be an optimist anyway. I’d be reasonably confident they’ll be with us but it’s up to them. I think ladies football needs them, too; we need role models.”

Intense speculation has centred on Staunton since last year’s agonising one-point defeat to Dublin in the TG4 All-Ireland semi-final. The Carnacon forward was left devastated, but recognised that under the stewardship of Browne, Mayo are close to a Brendan Martin Cup win.

Browne said: “We don’t know [if she’ll stay]. I hope she does, because I think Mayo needs her and ladies football needs her, as well, and I think, in a funny way, Cora needs football too. I don’t think it’s the right time for her [to retire], but that’s her own decision. From a team point of view and from a personal point of view, no matter what her decision is, we’re 100% behind her, because she doesn’t owe anything to the jersey. She’s cried for it, bled for it, fought for it, but we’d love to have her for one more year.

“She’ll let us know before the weekend. If she needs more time, that’s cool with me, because I want it to be the right decision for Cora Staunton, no more than Yvonne Byrne and Martha Carter.

“One of the things we built all our good times on last year was that bit of respect. We’re pushing really hard, but it’s really important in that push that we don’t lose the principles that got us here.”

One player Mayo have seen quietly slip into retirement is former All-Ireland medallist Claire Egan, while Fiona McHale will miss the league campaign, as she’s travelling.

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