Deja vu for supporters at Cork women’s team homecoming

Football side return tremendous reception on banks of Lee with 11th title in 12 years

Deja vu does not cover the half of it – another drizzly night in September and hundreds of loyal Cork women's Gaelic football fans are congregated on the South Mall to welcome home another victorious Cork team with the Brendan Martin Cup,

It has been like this for more than 10 years – starting in 2005 with five on the trot before there was a gap year in 2010 and normal service was resumed with yesterday’s success bringing the tally to an astonishing 11 titles in 12 years.

Team captain Ciara O’Sullivan led her players on to the podium outside the Imperial Hotel on the South Mall to a tumult of raucous cheering and loud applause.

The cheering seemed to get even louder as with Brendan Martin Cup in hand, the young woman from Mourne Abbey walked along the podium introducing the team and subs who had helped the Rebelettes to a narrow 1-7 to 1-6 win over Dublin in Croke Park.


All were cheered and applauded but it seemed as though goalscoring heroine, Rhona Ní Bhuachalla and point kicking sensation, Doireann O’Sullivan received even louder applause until the captain introduced some of the veterans of the side,

Full back Bríd Stack got a tremendous reception but it was "Woman of the Match" Rena Buckley and her midfield partner, Briege Corkery who seemed to get the loudest cheers of all as they were introduced after winning their 11th All Ireland football medals to add to their six camogie medals.

Largest attendance

Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Des Cahill paid tribute to the team as one of the greatest ever in any code but he also praised their loyal fans, pointing out that Sunday's attendance at Croke Park of 34,445 was the largest attendance in Europe for a women's sporting event.

Cork Ladies Football County Board Chairman, Neilus Carroll paid tribute to the team but also to their coach, Ephie Fitzgerald, saying many they had approached felt they were being handed a poisoned chalice taking over from Eamon Ryan but Fitzgerald had impressed them with his enthusiasm.

Fitzgerald spoke briefly as he paid tribute to the team and their willingness to buy into the work ethic before admitting that coming home with the Brendan Martin Cup to such a warm reception was “a humbling experience that would send tingles down your spine”.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times