Ashling Thompson: ‘It was like I was taking the steps to heaven’

She took a big hit towards the end of yesterday’s All-Ireland senior camogie final, but Ashling Thompson wasn’t going to give in at that stage. The Cork captain had a cup to collect and a speech to give, after all.

“I’m still a small bit drowsy, actually, but I suppose you have to take those knocks and get up and keep going,” said Thompson after the game.

“I actually think I struck a couple of balls after that, did I? I’m proud of myself. You just have to keep going no matter what is thrown at you.

“Unless you break your legs,” she said.

The Milford woman acknowledged that Galway put it up to Cork after the break yesterday.

“Every team gets a purple patch and we said at half-time that they could come out and go for a goal and there’d only be a point in it.

“We knew that ourselves at half-time. We knew it was 0-0 again. Some people don’t even know the score at half-time, we just don’t take any notice. We knew their purple patch would come and we knew it would be in those first 10 minutes.

“But I suppose that’s the difference between Cork camogie and everyone else — when the going gets tough, who’s going to throw in the towel first? it certainly wasn’t us and we got the result we wanted.”

Thompson paid tribute to dual star Briege Corkery for her crucial goal: “Briege always comes up with a miraculous score, no better woman. She deserves it so much, she’s out in a couple of week’s time in the football final — credit to her and she deserves every bit of it.”

For herself, going up into the Hogan Stand to accept the O’Duffy Cup was a “dream come true”.

“It puts the icing on my career. It’s everything I’ve worked for and for everything that I’ve been through in my own life, that kind of tops it for me. it makes everything so much more worth it.

“It felt a bit like there was no one around me? I felt just so isolated in a good way. I felt like this is my stepping stone, this is my path to glory, my path to heaven. It was like I was taking the steps to heaven on my own.

“It was most certainly not that way, because I took those steps with 30 players and our management, and I just can’t thank them enough,” she said.

Thompson added that Cork felt they’d been underrated this season, though she accepted they had improved significantly on their early- season form.

“I suppose that’s our answer to everyone that doubted us. We fed off that as well. We love being the underdog, we love being doubted.

“Last year it was the same until we got to the final and we pulled it out of the bag. It was the same this year.

“When people knock you down, what are you going to do — react or stay down? We most certainly reacted.

“We made a few mistakes but I mentioned during the week that it’s how we recover from mistakes that’s going to be the big thing.

“If you can move on from your mistakes straight away, put them behind you, that’s what’s going to win the game for you. Just put it behind you and move on. every time we made a mistake we made up for it.

“We never seem to peak early on, we seem to peak late in the year. It just came around at the right time, we don’t do it on purpose. It just happens, thank god.”


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