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Mary O'Connor; Cork's All Ireland Dual Champion Won 12 All Ireland Senior
The former Cork ladies gaelic footballer and camogie player, Mary O’Connor, is amongst the finest collection of Ireland’s greatest sports persons in the female category. Mary began playing ladies football with Cork when notions of winning All Ireland tiles were just a pipe dream. The Cork camogie teams had a proud tradition of winning national titles and when Mary joined the camogie squads in 1996, it was very likely that she would win an All Ireland medal.
As a dual player the workload was considerable and only the most committed athletes playing camogie and ladies gaelic football, can combine both at inter county level. Mary O’Connor achieved dual honours at the highest level and won 12 All Ireland senior medals. Her first glorious triumph in camogie came in 1997 when Cork claimed the O’Duffy Cup and Mary played a key part.
A special collection of seven senior All Ireland camogie medals 1997; 1998; 2002; 2005; 2006; 2008 and 2009 and five senior All Ireland Ladies Gaelic Football medals 2004; 2005; 2006; 2008 and 2009, is testament to her great athletic skills. Mary also captained the Cork ladies to a fifth consecutive senior All Ireland football title in 2009 and an All Star was claimed in football in 2006.
The Killeagh dual player played in an astonishing eighteen senior All Ireland finals – camogie and ladies gaelic football and went to the victory podium on twelve glorious occasions. On the club front, Mary played camogie with her home town club Killeagh in Co. Cork and whilst studying in Limerick, Granagh – Ballingarry, welcomed Mary into their midst. Again the honours flowed here.
Mary O’Connor of Killeagh, born in 1977, played inter county for Cork from 1994 until 2011, a lifespan of seventeen years and that distinction compares very favourably with the great legends of hurling and football since the foundation of the Gaelic Athletic Association in 1884.
The Cork athlete also turned her attention to rugby and won honours once more playing with the oval ball. In Cork ladies football, Donoughmore are a power base and Mary took her talents to the mid Cork club and also achieved great success. She was the overall winner of a local radio station and local Hotel award, following her performances in the All-Ireland and National League finals in 2006. As well as her two All Star awards, she was nominated for further awards in 2004, 2008 and 2009.
The Cork All Star athlete worked for the national Camogie Association for a time promoting and developing camogie around Ireland and her words of wisdom should inspire thousands of young girls to play our native games. She brings to the games an extremely high profile and is known throughout Ireland where camogie and ladies gaelic football are played. Her durability and commitment earned her the greatest honours both games could bestow and Mary’s record of appearances in senior All Ireland finals, will not be broken, unless a new superstar arrives on the fields of Ireland.
The legendary Cork sportswoman is incorporated into our All Ireland Hall Of Fame Online Gallery @ www.scoreboardmemories.com
Derry JF Doody