Multi-talented Mary Geaney made her own All-Ireland history

Mary Geaney’s phone began to hum as Cork camogie captain Rena Buckley climbed the Hogan Stand steps to collect the O’Duffy Cup on Sunday afternoon.

The commentators and analysts proclaimed history made as Buckley became the first person to skipper All-Ireland winning sides in two codes.

Buckley had in fact become the first person to achieve the feat with her native county on Sunday - incredibly almost four decades earlier Geaney had the honour of leading both Cork and Kerry to championship glory in camogie and ladies football respectively.

“I was getting calls at the end of the game,” Geaney smiled yesterday, “with a few people telling me that Marty Morrissey had his facts wrong!”

Geaney, now a sprightly 64, captained Kerry to All-Ireland ladies football glory in 1976, beating Offaly 4-6 to 1-5 in Littleton, Co Tipperary. She scored 3-2.

Four years later she was in Croke Park, this time with the Cork camogie side which defeated Limerick (1-8- to 2-2) in a replay.

So how did a Kerry woman end up captaining Cork in an All-Ireland senior final?

“When I started out with Castleisland it was all camogie, it was only when the camogie club folded there that we began to concentrate on ladies football.”

Geaney quickly found a new home for her camogie talents. “I had gone to boarding school in Ursuline in Cork so I knew a lot of the girls down there. I ended up playing with Éire Óg things progressed from there and I ended playing and captaining Cork.

“I was thrilled for Rena and for Cork, it was a double bonus for them to win the All-Ireland by beating Kilkenny in the final.”

Geaney’s sporting talents didn’t end with GAA — she was also an accomplished hockey star, winning 61 international caps while also enjoying provincial and national success as a badminton player. Nowadays, golf is her first love — “I’m still playing‘enough to keep me out of harm’s way” — but her history-making achievements show no sign of ending.

Earlier this month she managed a young Killarney team to the Irish Senior Cup with a 4-1 win over Royal Portrush.

It was Killarney’s first national title in the grade.

And one more historic destination reached on Mary Geaney’s trail-blazing journey through sport.

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