Mayo’s Cora Staunton may have played last game for county

Women’s football GAA star may quit after Mayo beaten by Dublin in All-Ireland semi-final

Mayo’s Cora Staunton dejected at the end of last night’s semi-final against Dublin. Staunton has played inter-county football for past 22 years. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Mayo’s Cora Staunton dejected at the end of last night’s semi-final against Dublin. Staunton has played inter-county football for past 22 years. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

 

Following Mayo’s agonising exit from the senior women’s All-Ireland championship, manager Frank Browne has paid tribute to Cora Staunton, who may well have played her last game for Mayo after an incredible 22 years of service.

Browne said he hoped that the 10-time All-Star would continue to line out for the county but was unsure as to whether Staunton would recommit for another season.

“I don’t know. Cora said all along that if she feels her body is able for it, she’ll go again. She’s just a phenomenal athlete, but to say that is to almost compartmentalise her because she’s a lovely person. She’s a brilliant role model for people as well.

“I hope she plays for a long time because she gave an exhibition again tonight.”

He added: “I read an article a couple of weeks ago about Cora [Staunton] saying that she was one of the top 16 most influential sportswomen in the country. That’s absolute rubbish, she’s one of the top three. If you ask people to name their top three Irish female sports stars, it’s probably Sonia [O’Sullivan], Katie Taylor and Cora Staunton.”

Staunton, a four-time All- Ireland medal winner, previously said she was 50-50 about returning to the Mayo panel at the beginning of this year and said it was getting more difficult, due to other commitments in her life.

In another superb display, Staunton posted eight points last night and was a half-turn away from adding a goal.

Mayo bowed out of the championship to Dublin last night in a thrilling All-Ireland semi-final that required a last-minute free from Sinéad Aherne to settle the tie.

Two yellow cards were doled out to either side in a highly physical encounter, and Browne says he thought other incidents during the game also warranted yellow cards.

“We were briefed that there is a rule that a player has to have a head injury before play is stopped. That didn’t seem to happen. I thought there was potential for more yellow cards but that’s football and that’s why we love it.”

Reflecting on the disappointing defeat, Browne said it was “heartbreaking’ for the team, adding he would have to postpone making a decision on his own future with the team for another day.

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