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All-Ireland camogie final hero on the 'dark moments' and how she kept going

Julia White hit the game-winning score after an injury-plagued 18 months.

SPORT OFTEN HAS a funny way of rewarding those who persevere.

Julia White celebrates winning Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Take Julia White for instance. In 2012, she was appointed captain of the Cork camogie side and the year started off on a good note when she lifted the league title in May.

But she was struck down by a bout of glandular fever during the summer, missing out on Cork’s run to the All-Ireland final where they suffered a seven-point defeat to Wexford.

In June 2015, after she completed her final year exams in UL and a hectic Ashboune Cup campaign, she took a month out to travel around Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.

White returned to a Cork panel missing 11 players of their All-Ireland winning team from the previous year, but nonetheless she played a key role at wing-forward as they defeated Galway in the final.

That was to be White’s final championship game in the Cork jersey for almost two years as she endured a torrid time with injury.

A ruptured achilles tendon and fractured foot kept her sidelined for the bones of 18 months, but she returned off the bench in Cork’s final Group 2 game last month, before playing 12 minutes in the semi-final win over Galway.

Julia White scores the winning point late in injury time White scores the winning point late in injury time Source: James Crombie/INPHO

White was summed off the bench in the 61st minute today, with the teams deadlocked at 0-9 apiece and arrowed over the game-winner six minutes later.

All those hours of rehab were worthwhile as she watched the ball sail between the posts with time also up.

“I ruptured my achilles tendon last year so I was out with that and then I fractured my foot this year so I’ve only had a few minutes here and there,” said White after the game.

“After my first injury last year I took the year out and was motivated enough coming back, but then I fractured my foot in April, so I was only back training in August.

“There were a few dark moments there alright, I was wondering if I’d make it back to the pace I was supposed to be at, but we have fantastic support from management, they were egging me on.

“Since 2015 I’ve played about 15 minutes of championship camogie in total, today included. I got a few minutes in the semi-final as well, but the pace of the game is just unbelievable, I found that hard. I just got the ball and hoped for the best.

Julia White celebrates scoring the winning point in injury time White celebrates her winner Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“It’s an unbelievable feeling, I’ve had a frustrating year in terms of injuries and so on, so I was delighted to have the option of getting on and getting a point. I know it was only one point and there were loads more, but it’s definitely a great feeling after being out for the last two years.”

It sealed a fifth All-Ireland medal for White, who’s still only 26-years-old.

Incidentally she taught PE, chemistry and science in Kilkenny school Loreto last year, while Cats substitute Michelle Teehan attended. White has since taken up a role in her old school, Christ King in Cork city.

“I have today off but hopefully they’ll give me tomorrow off,” she smiles.

After scoring the winning point in an All-Ireland final, she certainly deserves it.

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