It is a lot of pressure for one player to bear but if Limerick are to beat champions Cork on Saturday in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Championship, Niamh Mulcahy will have to be at her very best.
But part of being an elite player is the ability to handle responsibility. As someone whose talent shone through even from before she won an Irish Examiner Young Sports Star of the Year award, Mulcahy has flourished under the burden of expectation.
It was there from the very beginning, as the grand-niece of Mick Mackey and the granddaughter of John. Her parents Vera and Ger both played for Limerick too, while Vera won a club All-Ireland with Ahane.
The genetics proved more an aid than a burden in this case as Mulcahy and her sisters Claire and Judith have enjoyed lengthy inter-county careers. Niamh, however, is one of the best to have ever donned the green jersey.
A county junior in 2004 when just 14, she made her senior debut the following year in an All-Ireland semi-final against Cork. Though an Irish soccer international from U15 to U19, and also playing with the Irish Universities at the World Student Games, camogie held pride of place.
The 27-year-old’s scoring exploits during the Championship have been extraordinary. There seemed to be more support during the League but John Tuohy’s crew have relied almost exclusively on the Ahane star since.
Mulcahy recorded tallies of 1-14, 0-13 and 0-10 in her first three games against Wexford, Waterford and Clare, with the first all the more remarkable for the fact that it was in a losing effort.
Central to Offaly’s defeat of Limerick last week was that they held the prodigious attacker to just five points.
If Cork achieve something similar in their final Group 1 tie, they will be well on their way.
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