Cork's All-Ireland winning Ladies Footballers back on Leeside

Cork's Senior Ladies Footballers arrived back on Leeside tonight, shortly after 8.30pm with the Brendan Martin Cup en tow, after picking up an eighth All-Ireland title in nine years at Croke Park yesterday.

Cork's All-Ireland winning Ladies Footballers back on Leeside

Cork's Senior Ladies Footballers arrived back on Leeside tonight, shortly after 8.30pm with the Brendan Martin Cup en tow, after picking up an eighth All-Ireland title in nine years at Croke Park yesterday.

The players were fittingly dressed in red and white, as hundreds of supporters braved wet and windy conditions to celebrate the success of their heroines at the South Mall in Cork City, after the Rebelettes took honours following a slender one-point win over Monaghan.

Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Catherine Clancy praised all involved with the All-Ireland successes, as she officially welcomed the players back to the City.

Along with Cork's Senior success, the achievements of the Under 14, Under 16, Minor and Under 21 sides were also recognised, with All-Ireland and provincial titles also coming during 2013 for the bulk of these squads.

There was also a special performance by singer/songwriter Jason Holland of his new song Rebel County on the stage outside the Imperial Hotel.

Ten of the starting team claimed their eighth All-Ireland Senior medal yesterday, with goalkeeper Elaine Harte; defenders Bríd Stack, Deirdre O'Reilly, Briege Corkery, Rena Buckley and Geraldine O'Flynn; midfielders Juliet Murphy and Angela Walsh along with forwards Nollaig Cleary and Valerie Mulcahy; all a part of every All-Ireland winning Cork Senior panel.

Player of the Match Bríd Stack was one of four players who played every minute of those eight All-Ireland deciders.

"It has just been a fantastic team effort over the last number of years and it is great to come home," she said.

"It is brilliant to see a great turn out and to bring it home one more time is fantastic."

Goalscorer Valerie Mulcahy felt that coming into the game as slight underdogs didn't disadvantage the Rebelettes.

"We were underdogs and that was a nice challenge for us. It was tense, but when you are playing football and you are training all year, you want to be playing back in Croke Park and relish that opportunity," she said.

Mulcahy top-scored with 1-4, including the final point of the contest.

"I'm absolutely delighted, it helped finish off a great team performance and it is great to be bringing the cup home again.

Throughout the game it was fierce difficult. We called on a strong effort throughout and we managed to do that. That's what we have excelled at all year, just working hard."

Cork manager Eamon Ryan says the character and selfless dedication shown by the players is one of the reasons for their successes.

"They are football players who are totally dedicated and really understand that they are playing for themselves. It's not for anybody else," he said.

"The concept that there is a sacrifice doesn't come into it because they are doing something that they love, that we all love."

For Cork midfielder Juliet Murphy it was a fitting end to her career, but she felt that the game wasn't a classic.

"It was very stop-start, and the referee probably called a lot of fouls as well which made it even more difficult, but defensively the girls were outstanding and that's probably what won it for us in the end.

"Elaine (Harte) had pulled off a great save in the first half and they were always dangerous with that goal, but I suppose we have been used to it all year, and not before, not playing at our best.

"That's kind of what we did really and I'm just delighted to get the win in the end."

The Cork players will now make their way to Inch Rovers, home club of captain Ann Marie Walsh; to continue the celebrations at the local community hall.

Meanwhile, the vanquished Monaghan team returned home this evening, following yesterday's game.

The players, management and officials arrived in Carrickmacross for an event in the town around 5pm, with hundreds of supporters in attendance.

Team captain Therese McNally and Monaghan Ladies Football Chairperson Marie Brady addressed the crowd.

Newly crowned Intermediate All-Ireland champions Cavan walked the cup across the county boundary on their return last night, and continue their celebrations this evening, while All-Ireland Junior champions Offaly have been visiting Ballycumber, Cloghan and Banagher tonight.

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