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'No pressure' on Cora Staunton, but Mayo hopeful she'll be back for a 23rd season

The four-time All-Ireland winner is currently on an extended break.

Cora Staunton is arguably the greatest ever Ladies Gaelic footballer.
Cora Staunton is arguably the greatest ever Ladies Gaelic footballer.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

MAYO LADIES FOOTBALL manager Frank Browne is hopeful that Cora Staunton will re-commit to the panel for 2017, her 23rd consecutive inter-county season.

The four-time All-Ireland senior medalist is currently on an extended break from the Mayo team along with fellow stalwarts Martha Carter and goalkeeper Yvonne Byrne.

The Mayo panel reconvened for training at the beginning of this month with the first round of the National League coming up on 29 January against Galway.

Browne told The42 that he would love to see Staunton and co back in Mayo jerseys but insisted that there is no pressure on them to return to the panel.

“They’ve just finished playing their club seasons since the beginning of December so we haven’t been putting them under any pressure,” he said.

“We’re giving them the time to make up their minds, they’ve spent a lot of time in the jersey and don’t owe anything to Mayo football. They’re going to have a rest and decide what’s right for them.”

With Cora, everyone is wondering what she’s going to do and it’s our job to support her when she makes her decision. We’re giving her loads of time. As with Martha and as with Yvonne, it’s a huge commitment and these girls have been doing it for a lot of years, they know what it takes and what it doesn’t take.

“They know the sacrifices that have to be made so it’s our job to give them time and space to make the right decision.”

Browne added that he has had conversations with the three players and said they are training on their own at the moment.

“The type of people and the type of athletes that they are, they’re always looking after themselves, they’re always in good shape.”

“The conversation I have with all three of them is ‘guys we’d really love to have you back but no matter what your decision is, you owe absolutely nothing to the jersey, you’ve been brilliant servants and brilliant representatives of not just of Mayo Ladies football but of Ladies football in general.’

“Whatever their decision is, both on a personal level and as part of Mayo football, we support them 100% because they’ve given absolutely everything to the cause.”

Sinéad Aherne free in the dying moments of last year’s semi-final brought Mayo’s All-Ireland campaign to an end after a thrilling encounter.

Browne admits that it was a tough defeat to process, but says they’re looking forward to a new challenge in 2017.

“In one way it was a brilliant game, it was a massive advertisement for Ladies football and one of the best games of the year in any of the codes.

“We’ve learnt (from it) and it was very raw for a couple of weeks I have to say but it’s a new year, a new season and it’s all ahead of us now so we’re getting back on the wagon and getting going hard at it again.”

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