Mourneabbey skipper Brid O’Sullivan believes the disappointing end to Cork’s championship campaign can help drive her side towards a maiden All-Ireland club senior success this weekend.
O’Sullivan’s inter-county season was ended by a Cora Staunton-inspired Mayo at the semi-final stage this year and she will once again lock horns with the 11-time All-Star, when Mourneabbey take on Carnacon at Parnell Park on Sunday (throw-in 3.45pm).
It could prove to be a memorable day for Cork ladies football, as Kinsale and Aghada also face Dunboyne and Corduff in the intermediate and junior finals, respectively, and O’Sullivan feels the Leesiders’ early exit from the All-Ireland series has aided the club scene in the county.
“Definitely. It’s been a good few years since Cork have been represented at the junior, intermediate and senior club finals. I think that, even though we were absolutely devastated to be knocked out at the semi-final level, that did have a lot to do with the club success this year. We had a bit more time to spend at our clubs, and I’m sure the girls from Kinsale and Aghada that were involved with Cork would agree that it’s hard to do it all.”
Mourneabbey have themselves secured All-Ireland intermediate (2007) and junior crowns (2005) and, with players from those successes still involved, O’Sullivan sees a great blend of youth and experience in the squad.
“I’m not sure how many of them [played in those finals], maybe five or six of them. They were, I would say, only teenagers winning a junior All-Ireland final. Some of them were 12 or 13, and then winning an intermediate, they were still, most of them, in secondary school.
“They’ve now grown into senior players, and they’re the people that our younger players like Ellie [Jack] and the Ciaras [O’Callaghan and Lawless] look up to. It’s brilliant that they’ve had that experience of playing at that level for so long.”
While Carnacon were comprehensive winners over St Macartan’s of Tyrone in their semi-final, Mourneabbey were forced to dig deep in their extra-time victory against 2016 finalists Foxrock/Cabinteely. O’Sullivan acknowledged that their clash with the Leinster champions posed a significant mental obstacle and she hopes it will stand them in good stead on Sunday.
“Foxrock are an excellent team, and that was definitely the toughest match that we’ve played all year. The closest from start to finish, and I think it was a very good experience for us to have to play that extra-time and dig deep. It became a mental battle then towards the end, and we were just delighted to get over the line,” said O’Sullivan.
Kinsale and Dunboyne will clash at Parnell Park in Dublin at 1.45pm, while the senior final between Cork outfit Mourneabbey and Mayo opponents Carnacon will also be broadcast on TG4.
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