Laura O'Mahony gets heros welcome at the Rossa Park   29/08/2017

Cork minor football star Laura O’Mahony was afforded a deserved heroes welcome when she paraded the minor A All-Ireland football championship crown in the Rossa Park, Skibbereen recently.

The O’Donovan Rossa heroine played a pivotal role in helping the young Rebelettes claim a third successive All-Ireland final following their comprehensive win against Galway on Bank Holiday Monday. A large crowd of enthusiastic supporters, gathered at her home pitch in recognition of Laura’s heroics with the successful Cork minor ladies team.

Laura was thrilled to be afforded such a rapturous welcome in her home town. “I was thrilled with the turnout. It was great to bring the cup back to Skibbereen and to my home club. It was great to see so many members of the ladies’ club present on the night. It meant so much to me to bring the cup home. This is where it all began for me. It was brilliant to see my family, friends, neighbours and supporters present. It was a proud moment for me to bring the cup home to Skibbereen. There were a lot of young players there who hopefully will continue with their footballing career and keep progressing with their careers,” declared the modest football ace.

Laura who has represented the Cork footballers at every grade up the respective ranks played a key role at half forward in their latest All-Ireland triumph this season. The talented Rebelettes have now captured three consecutive All-Ireland minor titles. Cork have now won ten All-Ireland minor A All-Ireland championship titles since the competition was established in 1980. “It was a great win. I am delighted with our triumph. It was a great achievement. It was great to win the All-Ireland title with such a talented group of players. We all worked hard throughout the year and thankfully it all went right on the day against Galway. It was a special feeling when the full-time whistle blew and we realised we were All-Ireland champions. It is a great feeling.”

Cork secured their All-Ireland final berth following a narrow semi-final win achieved against Tyrone. Laura admits they learned a lot from their below-par display against the Ulster champions. ‘We did not play to our maximum against Tyrone. We didn’t play as well as we had hoped. It was an unconvincing performance. We only just about won the game. We knew we had to improve significantly against Galway if we were to prevail. We worked hard in training prior to the All-Ireland final and thankfully our performance on the day was superb. Everything clicked for us on the day.”

Cork produced a virtuouso performance against the Connacht champions in the All-Ireland final. Their forwards were in particular devastating. In particular ace duo Saoirse Noonan and Sadhbh O’Leary were in inspired form. The deadly duo combined brilliantly to record an impressive 5-8 out of their final 5-11 scoreline. Laura paid tribute to the star duo. “Saoirse and Sadhbh were brillliant on the day against Galway. They are brilliant forwards. They were unreal against Galway. It is a great experience and privilege to play with them. It is a squad game however and I thought we all played very well on the day. Everyone contributed immensely not just in the final against Galway, but throughout the year. Everyone played key roles during the course of both the Munster campaign and the All-Ireland series. We were delighted to have secured the Munster title against Kerry. We continued to improve however as the season progressed, we didn’t get complacent which is a great tribute to the players and backroom staff. We have a very strong squad of players and our unity during the season was a big factor in our success.”

Laura who was playing on her first year with the Cork minor team is eligible to play again next season with the young Rebelettes who have captured an historic three-in-a-row for the first time in their history. Laura is hopeful they will be competing for more honours again next season. “We will lose seven of the team which started against Galway. The loss of these players will be a blow, however we have a very strong squad of players who are eager to step up. The current U16 team were strong this season so a few of those players will step up to the minor squad next year. Ladies football in Cork is very strong so hopefully we will be competitive next season. County trials will begin again in December and we will be back determined to enjoy another successful season next year. It would be nice to win the All-Ireland title again next season and make it four-in-a-row.”

Laura paid tribute to the role their manager John Cleary and his backroom team played in their successful season this year. “John, the selectors and the entire backroom team were brilliant this season. They were all great to work with. We worked hard but we also enjoyed the sessions and the year. They are the main reason why we won this season. Their sessions were so good. Their knowledge and attention to detail was brilliant. They were a joy to work with. They have led Cork to three All-Ireland titles in a row which is a great achievement. We are fortunate to have someone of his stature managing us. We have learned so much from John and his entire coaching staff.

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