ELEVEN-TIME senior All-Ireland winner Deirdre O’Reilly has confirmed she has retired from intercounty football after a hugely impressive 17-year career.
“It’s official alright. All done,” O’Reilly said with a smile, following revelations on Cork’s Red FM on Saturday evening by Cork coach Ephie Fitzgerald that O’Reilly would not feature in 2017.
One of the game’s toughest defenders – realised by the fact that she has won five ladies football All-Stars – O’Reilly made her senior debut aged just 15. During a Munster Senior Championship game against Waterford in Fraher Field, O’Reilly, who was still only playing U16 and minor for Cork at the time, was asked down from the stand to tog out.
Cork’s Deirdre O’Reilly with the Brendan Martin Cup, having defeated Dublin in the 2015 senior All-Ireland ladies football final.
O’Reilly’s older sister, Sinead, had been playing, and the duo would go on to win three senior All-Ireland medals together with Cork under coach Eamonn Ryan and manager Mary Collins.
O’Reilly came on as a substitute in her first senior All-Ireland final win in 2005 against Galway, and in fact won her second playing centre-forward in 2006 against Armagh.
Known for her incredible strength, O’Reilly moved to the rearguard but on numerous occasions took the game by the scruff of the neck, rushing forward from defence to sling over vital points.
O’Reilly also holds two All-Ireland club football medals, having won the junior and intermediate club All-Ireland titles in 1999 and 2000 respectively with Rockchapel, alongside the likes of Brid Stack and Norita Kelly.
She has also won three senior camogie All-Ireland club titles with Milford in 2013, 2014 and 2016.
Milford’s Deirdre O’Reilly celebrates with the cup after the 2016 AIB All-Ireland Senior Camogie Club Championship Final against Killimor. Credit: SPORTSFILE