It’s been a while, a long while, but things have been fairly busy the last few months.
There was the ladies football All-Ireland final for a start and Cork winning their ninth title in 10 years in what was probably thee most dramatic game ever in Croke Park – 10 points down with something like 16 minutes on the clock and they come back to win it. Unreal stuff.
But, following that win, a colleague of mine (Denis Hurley) wrote an extremely flattering article. Blushing aside, and hand on heart, I have to say I was very proud when I read it, and thought ‘fair play Denis’!
This isn’t an ego-massaging exercise, but I just thought that it was a nice piece, written by a great journalist, someone who knows his stuff, inside and out, and it was so touching that I wanted to share it.
Anywho, here it is, and I’ll try to post something a little more frequently in future!
PS. Cheers again Denis!
By Denis Hurley (Evening Echo – Tuesday, September 30, 2014)
REGULAR readers of this column (I know they exist; more to the point so do my lawyers) will be aware that the final article each September is generally a love-letter to the Cork ladies football team.
There is no reason to change that pattern after Sunday, in fact there is probably more call than ever.
In both 2011 and ’13, we hailed this special side after comeback wins over Dublin but what we saw two days ago raised the bar higher again.
If we were of a more suspicious nature, we might say that Cork have become so good that they need to give other teams head-starts just so they have a challenge.
Dublin are a fantastic team, of that there is no doubt, but Cork are a team for the ages, a side we will still be talking about in 50 years’ time.
What sets this win apart is that it was achieved without either Juliet Murphy or Elaine Harte, two stalwarts of the previous eight wins who are now enjoying well-earned retirements.
It would have been understandable, accepted even, if a transitional period was required but you sense that manager Eamonn Ryan doesn’t do transition.
Neither do the team, it’s all about high standards in everything they do, in every game. If you manage to do that then you’ll go a long way.
It was fitting that the winning point on Sunday came from the boot of Geraldine O’Flynn. The levels of consistency that she brings to her game are incredible, so much so it doesn’t get remarked upon as it’s almost expected. Nobody can be more deserving of kicking the winner.
With nine All-Irelands won in 10 years, it’s no surprise that this team are relatively well-known, in both Cork and beyond.
It’s to be expected with such a level of success, but there is another reason that we are all so familiar with these warrior women and it’s down to another warrior woman.
It wouldn’t be hard to argue that no other newspaper gives ladies football a level of coverage comparable to the Evening Echo.
Look at what was on offer from yesterday’s game and marvel, but also know that this was no one-off, it’s par for the course where ladies football and the Echo are concerned.
The driving force behind this — and she probably won’t thank me for bringing all this attention her way — is Mary White, who has devoted more hours than is good for her in attending games, interviewing players and managers and generally promoting ladies footballl.
It would be easy for the Echo to point to the space given over to the sport as proof of the support it gives, but that would count for little if the actual journalism wasn’t up to much.
Mary ensures that the output is always top-notch and it’s more than appropriate that such a successful time for Cork ladies football has coincided with such brilliant reporting.
It would be easy for a reporter in such a situation to become too close to the team, but Mary can also maintain the requisite objectivity required to give a fair analysis.
It wasn’t for no reason that C103’s live commentary of the final had Mary as the expert analyst. In the same way that Geraldine O’Flynn was a most deserving candidate to kick the winning point, Máire Bán (as she is affectionately known in Echo Towers) was absolutely the right choice for this.
In journalism, you never really get a chance to sit down and take stock and congratulate others — there’s always something else on so the focus has to be forward rather than back — so forgive us if we take this opportunity to give Mary a well-earned pat on the back.
It’s probably going too far to say that the Cork LGFA should mint an All-Ireland medal for her too, but not by much.
Hopefully, Cork’s winning run will continue long into the future, with the ‘winning choices’ (as opposed to ‘sacrifices’) which Eamonn Ryan often refers to continuing to bear the fruit which is so satisfying.
And may Mary White be there to continue to report, analyse and dissect matters in her top-class way.