This was a sweet one for Cork camogie.
After a four-year-famine, the last two of those having ending in All-Ireland final defeats, victory has rarely tasted as good as their convincing win over Waterford at the weekend.
Their centre back Laura Treacy was so over-joyed after the game that, in her post-match interview on RTÉ, you couldn’t have known she’d already won this competition four times.
Meanwhile, speaking with Marty Morrissey at the victory banquet, their inspirational midfielder and fellow five-time O’Duffy Cup winner Hannah Looney had no doubt in her mind.
‘This was the most special win of all,’ she said.
“I was fortunate when I joined Cork camogie first, that I came straight into a winning team and winning set-ups,” said Looney.
“But we didn’t win since 2018, and that’s a famine down in Cork.”
“I also think there’s something really special about this group and I love every single one of them and I’m just really proud, really proud,” added the Aghada player who by that stage was in celebratory mood, donning a Cork bucket hat at their reception.
“My mother’s going to kill me for wearing it on live TV,” she told Marty on the night.
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) August 6, 2023
Well the celebrations have continued long into the week and, as much as anyone else, Looney deserves every single second of it.
Inter-County GAA is an all-consuming commitment for all players but if you’re playing dual, the demands rise to another level entirely.
That’s why, in the age of recovery scores and load management, code-crossers are almost ghosts of seasons past but along with her team-mates Libby Coppinger, Aoife Healy and Orlaith Cahalane, Looney is still playing both camogie and ladies football for Cork.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of joined-up thinking, it has placed her in many a sticky situation over the years with games clashing as the two organisations pit heads.
One Sunday in particular for example, earlier in the year, the Cork camogie team and ladies football team played championship games on the one day, with Coppinger featuring in both – one in Cork, one a couple of hours later in Galway.
It’s a poor state of affairs really but if nothing else, it goes a long way to underlining the whole-hearted and un-relenting commitment of players like Looney, Coppinger, Healy and Cahalane.
They put their lives on hold for the love of these games. They shun holidays to train, nights out for games, J1s and moves abroad in the name of dreams. Then, more often than not, dreams turn to nightmares as the season ends with the pain and heartbreak of a defeat.
For Cork, Sunday was one of the good days and that’s why, on Wednesday, when she was rowed down the River Lee by Cork boat club, with the O’Duffy Cup in her lap, nobody deserved it more than Hannah Looney.
Be there https://t.co/uU9BXEzXYX
— Hannah Looney (@Looneytunes_kid) August 8, 2023
Image credit: Ashling Thompson Insta.
Cork camogie star Hannah Looney asked to be rowed down the River Lee with the O'Duffy Cup…
And she's got her wish ✨
?️ Aisling Thompson
Full story ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/zTX4i4baUI
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) August 9, 2023