St Val’s will bid to win their fourth Cork SFC title — and a first for Cork senior star Brid Stack — this evening.
Stack joined the mid-Cork side — along with younger sister Muireann — this season after their club St Mary’s folded, and the 2016 LGFA Players’ Player of the Year will be looking to lift the John Hurley Cup for the first time in her career.
Conor Condon’s side will contest their fifth final on the trot, having won it in 2013, however they suffered heartache in the last three showdowns against the reigning Munster SFC champions Mourneabbey, their opponents once more this evening (Cork IT, 5pm).
“It’s about time we won it again,” said Condon, whose management team consists of Simon Foley — the brother of Cork star Vera — Cork senior selector Pa O’Leary, Mickey Ring, and Martha Buckley.
“I’ve stayed on because I know the players have the will to try win another one, and that’s everyone. We’ve put a lot of work in.
“Mourneabbey are a great team, and we’ll certainly have to be at our best to beat them, but we’re going to give it a go.”
Condon has a full squad to choose from, bar the unavailability of former Cork star Briege Corkery, but he has the likes of captain Louise Coholan and minor All-Ireland-winning players Ciara McCarthy and Ciara Hughes to throw in the mix.
Joining Stack in the rearguard will be former All-Star winners Vera Foley and Marie Ambrose, while upfront they will be without the services of the retired Caoimhe Creedon.
St Val’s defeated Éire Óg in the quarter-final before dispatching a hugely impressive West Cork divisional side in the semi-final in Macroom a number of weeks back.
Having contested the 2015 and 2014 senior All-Ireland club finals, Mourneabbey will be favourites going in, however captain Brid O’Sullivan isn’t looking beyond today’s clash.
“It’s a bit like Cork. You’ve won a few times, and of course there’s the favourite tag hanging over us because we’re the reigning champions, but that doesn’t mean anything.
“After coming so close to the All-Ireland the last two years, we’re not even thinking about it because if we don’t win the county final, we’re nowhere.”
Mourneabbey defeated Inch Rovers in the semi-final — a solid team who boasted the likes of former All-Ireland-winning Cork captain and All-Star Angela Walsh — while she watched St Val’s deny West Cork in their semi-final clash.
“Val’s were very impressive that night, and their forwards played very well as a unit, while the team in general worked very hard. So, we know that just like the last three years that they’re going to be unbelievable opposition for us on Saturday.”
Manager Dominic Gallagher parted ways with Mourneabbey this season, however the addition of Aisling Murphy from the Clyda men’s team has been a great find for coach Shane Ronayne and Derry Cronin.
Today: Cork SFC final St Val’s V Mourneabbey CIT, 5pm
Listen to the latest Irish Examiner PaperTalk podcast:
Or to get the latest episode automatically, you can SUBSCRIBE ON iTUNES
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved