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Cork Independent

Game On

Aoife wins overall award

Wednesday, 7th February, 2018 5:14pm

On Friday last before a huge gathering, Cork camogie goalkeeper, and captain for the coming season, Aoife Murray was named as the overall winner of the 96FM/C103 GAA Sports Star of the Year, in association with the Rochestown Park Hotel.
Aoife was chosen from an impressive list of the 12 monthly nominees, that included several players who had anchored Cork’s hurling season that saw Munster titles won at under 17, minor and senior.

Aoife was pleasantly surprised but delighted at being selected saying: “It was a brilliant year, and in the end, we as a team on and off the field got our just reward, and I would not be here tonight only for the hard work put in by a very dedicated group of players.”

She was gently reminded that two years ago she hinted at retirement. “Yes, that true, but then the motivation to win another All-Ireland was enough to keep me going.”

It should be pointed out that Aoife is Dublin based, but rarely misses a training session, and if she did her brother Paudie, the team manager, would quickly let her know. As for the travelling, she says: “It’s part of my routine now although I could do without the toll plazas.”

What does 2018 hold? “Training is going well, we have won our two games in the league and we will see where it takes us, but we are all looking forward to summer and the championship.”

There were two other awards presented on the night, Douglas and Cork minor hurling star Brian Turnbull was the recipient of the Kieran O’Driscoll Youth Award. Brian was top scorer in the championship including some crucial and brilliant scores in a campaign that captured the imagination of the Cork public.

Former Cork All-Ireland winning captain Tom Cashman was the recipient of the Donal Lehane Distinquished Career award. He was joined on the night by family members including his brother Jim who played on the 1986 All-Ireland winning team in which Tom was captained, and described it as “without doubt, the highlight of my career”.

Previous winners of this award Larry Tompkins, Charlie McCarthy, John Fenton, Gerald McCarthy and John Coleman were in attendance as was former overall winner Rena Buckley.

The banquet was attended by officers of the various board with Munster Council Officers Jerry O’Sullivan and Pearse Murphy and Iar-Uachtarann CLCG Christy Cooney and John and Noreen Lehane from the Rochestown Park Hotel, while Frank Murphy, Diarmuid Gowen, Jerry Walsh, Des Cullinane and Donal Leahy represented the Cork County Board as well as Chairperson Tracey Kennedy.

The awards are now entering their 15th year and the January winner will be announced in the coming days.

 

Cork vs Louth

On the back of their comfortable win over Down in Newry, Cork will be hoping to pick up another two points when the men from the Wee County visit Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday at 2pm.

Meetings between these counties are rare enough; of course the most famous of all was the 1957 All-Ireland Final in which Louth caused a major surprise by winning with a team that included that great entertainer Dermot O’Brien, while at right half-back on the Cork team was Paddy Harrington, father of golfer Padraig.

Louth have lost their opening two games and that will make Cork favourites but this is strange division; look at the results last week, Meath hammered Clare and Roscommon came from behind to beat Tipperary in Thurles.

All this means that every point is vital in the push for promotion and any further slips could be costly.

Cork impressed against Down, and while injuries are a concern, Killian O’Hanlon looks doubtful for Sunday and Aidan Walsh’s return could be some time away following the shoulder injury he incurred in Croke Park.

Mark Collins, Colm O’Neill, Ian Maguire, Sean White, Tomas Clancy and Kevin Crowley should have enough experience to ensure Cork make it back to back wins, and then with a two week break to the Cavan game in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, the injury worries might have eased.

 

Elsewhere

Having won their opening two games with ease, the Cork Ladies Footballers head to Croke Park on Saturday for a meeting with All-Ireland champions Dublin and it will surely produce a lively contest.

It's Ashbourne Cup weekend in camogie and it's old rivals UCC vs UCD in the semi-final in Galway on Saturday; UL and WIT meet in the other semi-final with the final in Ballinasloe on Sunday at 4pm.

Congratulations to Knocknagree and Kanturk on their outstanding achievements in winning a remarkable All-Ireland double making it a memorable weekend for Duhallow and Cork in Croke Park over the weekend, let’s hope 'The Banks’ will reverberate around the stadium a few more times during the season.

Finally my thanks to all who ensured last Friday Nights 96FM/C103 awards banquet in the Rochestown Park Hotel was such a resounding success, I'm already looking forward to next year's event.

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