Unreal display brings Jacob real reward
WHEN SHE captained Wexford last year to their second All-Ireland in a row, scoring 1-5 of her team’s 2-7 total against Galway, Ursula Jacob made the task of picking our September sportswoman of the month an easy one.
That moment, when Wexford trailed by three points with just 10 minutes to go, when she scored a quite magical goal, adding another three points to complete the comeback, as good as clinched it.
Twelve months on and there’s a bit of déjà vu to it all. In one of the finest camogie finals in recent memory, Cork put up a marvellous display against the defending champions, but, again, Jacob’s scoring proved the difference.
Plenty of her team-mates had days to remember too, not least Katrina Parrock, but Jacob’s tally of 2-7, which included two goals in two minutes, all but sealed Wexford’s success. Her second was a thing of beauty, Jacob firing an unstoppable shot from the ground that flew in to the top corner of the goal. As Cyril Farrell put it in the RTÉ commentary box: “That’s unreeeeeeeal!”
When Wexford went in to the 2007 final against Cork the county hadn’t won a senior All-Ireland title in 32 years, their 2-7 to 1-8 victory that day ending the drought. They weren’t able to retain their title, though, Cork bouncing back to win the next two, but since then Wexford – and Jacob - have been peerless, September’s triumph completing the county’s first ever three-in-a-row.
She came by her talent honestly, both her parents playing for the county, Mick a hurling All-Star and Breda making it to the 1972 All-Ireland Junior camogie final. Her sister Helena is also on the Wexford camogie panel and her brothers Michael and Rory are both senior county hurlers. Jacob’s work for the year wasn’t done when she left Croke Park, last week she was the player of the match for her club Oulart-The Ballagh, the reigning All-Ireland champions, against St Ibar’s/Shelmalier when they won their ninth Wexford senior camogie championship title in 10 years.
So then, for the second September running, Jacob is our Sportswoman of the month. No more than her county, she’s developed quite a winning habit.
MONTHLY WINNERS SO FAR
(This year’s awards cover December 2011 to November 2012):
December: Fionnuala Britton (Athletics). The Wicklow runner emulated Catherina McKiernans 1994 European Cross Country Championship success by winning gold in Slovenia.
January: Jessica Kurten (Equestrian). After a difficult year, when she lost her most experienced horses following a dispute with their owner, Kurten bounced back with her first major Grand Prix victory in 12 months.
February: Fiona Coghlan (Rugby). Coghlan captained Ireland to their most impressive Six Nations’ campaign yet, the team comfortably beating Wales, Italy and Scotland, only losing by a point away to France and holding England level at half-time in their Triple Crown match before the champions pulled away in the second half.
March: Audrey O’Flynn (Hockey). The Cork woman was a member of the Irish team that reached the final of their Olympic Qualifier in Belgium, where they lost to the hosts, her eight goals in five matches making her the tournament top scorer.
April: Katie Walsh (Horse racing). With some assistance from Seabass, trained by her father Ted, Walsh became the highest-placed female jockey in the history of the English Grand National when she finished third.
May: Katie Taylor (Boxing). Taylor won her fourth successive World Championship title in China (also taking the ‘Best Boxer’ award at the event). Later in the summer, she paid a visit to London. You know yourself.
June: Stephanie Meadow (Golf). The 20-year-old from Jordanstown played a major part in the British and Irish team’s Curtis Cup triumph and then became the first Irish player to win the British Open Amateur title since 1985.
July: Annalise Murphy (Sailing). Murphy won the opening four races in the Laser Radial sailing class in London 2012, before suffering the disappointment of finishing fourth in the medal race - but by then she had given more than a glimpse of her ability.
August: Bethany Firth (Swimming). Despite suffering from a shoulder injury, the 16-year-old from Seaforde, Co Down won gold in the S14 100m backstroke at the Paralympics in London.
Each sportswoman can only win one monthly award in the year but her achievements through the 12 months are taken in to account when the winner of the overall award is being decided.