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One player’s journey from injury to the All-Ireland final

Mayo’s Annie Duffy had to give up football after falling through the second floor of a shed

Mayo’s Sarah Tierney, Tipperary’s Samantha Lambert, Derry’s Cáit Glass, Fermanagh’s Aine McGovern, Dublin’s Sinéad Ahearne and Tyrone’s Neamh Woods ahead of All-Ireland ladies’ football final day. Photograph: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Two years ago, Annie Duffy fell through the second floor of a shed and had to be airlifted to hospital.

She was about to start sixth year in secondary school at the time of the accident, which forced her to take a year out from playing football – though it would appear that that paid off, as she subsequently achieved 8 A1s, one of six people to do so that year.

It has been a long recovery from injury for the Ballinrobe woman, who recently started her second year of medicine in NUI Galway, but on Sunday she will tog out for Mayo in the women’s senior football final in Croke Park.

Juggling college and training is no easy feat. “There was a while when I considered stopping GAA because it was hard to find balance between college and training, but in the end I stayed because you make so many friends and meet new people through GAA,” said the Hollymount player.

The Mayo women’s team train two to three times a week in Ballyhaunis, with players commuting from Limerick, Galway, Dublin and Sligo.

“You get on better with the girls on your team because they understand the hard work and dedication that goes in to training and matches.”

Mayo last won the All-Ireland senior title in 2003, when they played Dublin. They meet the same opposition in this year’s final. “You get caught up in your head if you think about it too much,” said Duffy. “It’s been a bit difficult to concentrate this week.”

Women’s All-Ireland finals

Sunday, Croke Park

Junior final: Derry v Fermanagh, 11.45am

Intermediate final: Tipperary v Tyrone, 1.45pm

Senior final: Mayo v Dublin, 4pm