Heroic Healy adds yet another historic title

by Cóilín Duffy

NOELLE Healy was on cloud-nine with her Mourneabbey colleagues as she added club All-Ireland glory to Dublin’s three county titles in success.

The St Brigid’s woman relocated to Cork this year for work and she duly helped the side to a slender 2-9 to 0-14 win over first-time finalists Kilkerrin-Clonberne from Galway in the LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick on Saturday.

“It’s been a lovely year, and I can’t get over how welcoming the girls and their families have been, so to be able to put a finish on it like that is really, really special,” she told Dublin Gazette after the game.

It was a late, late point from Laura Fitzgerald, with just 16 seconds left on the countdown which ultimately separated the sides – at a stage where Mourneabbey were down to 14 players, after a sin-binning for Ciara O’Sullivan with seven minutes remaining.

“We’ve a brilliant back-line with Roisin O’Sullivan, Kathryn Coakley and Eimear Meaney, and they really stood up,” Healy said.

“You even saw Doireann [O’Sullivan] in the back-line as well just putting her shoulder to the wheel and running the ball.

“Thankfully, all we needed was one score and one play, and Laura did brilliant to get the ball and have the composure.

“She’s one of the best strikers of the ball I’ve seen, and I’m delighted for her.”
Healy said the whole game was an excellent showcase for ladies football.

“There was a great crowd here and, hopefully, there was a great crowd watching on TG4 also.

“There was just some phenomenal football on display, and some brilliant point taking,” she said.

“Some of the young stars on the Kilkerrin-Clonberne team really shone, and there’s some exciting young players there.

“It was a really good advertisement for football.”

Mourneabbey became the first Cork club to deliver back-to-back All-Ireland senior ladies club football titles for the first time in 40 years, with Newtownshandrum last doing it back in 1978-1979.

Mourneabbey manager Shane Ronayne said it was great to have Noelle on board this year.

“Noelle is a fabulous player, but a fantastic person as well and that’s what makes the difference.

“As I said to her in there (dressing room), she could have just rolled in and said ‘I’m a star, I’m going to be on the team’. That wasn’t the way with her.

“She was down at training when she couldn’t train, she was doing water when we were playing league matches – all of that kind of stuff.

“She bought into Mourneabbey. It seeped into her veins. She loved it I’d say.

“We loved having her, and there she was today with a minute to go, on her back fighting for us.

“I think that’s testament to the character she has, that she has got her All-Ireland Club medal now. She’s probably going to be back in Dublin next year with work.

“We’d love to have her next year obviously with a player of her calibre. But, as I said, a fantastic person, and we are delighted to have her.”

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