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'Icing on the cake': Cork's Aghada cap historic year of firsts with All-Ireland title

From Caledonia to a hijacked interview, there were some scenes after the match.

“ICING ON THE cake. It would be unbelievable. Absolutely something special. It’d be one of the proudest moments ever in my life.”

Aghada v Corduff - All-Ireland Ladies Football Junior Club Championship Final Hannah Looney leads the Aghada celebrations. Source: Matt Browne/SPORTSFILE

The last words of Aghada captain Emma Farmer at the launch of the All-Ireland Ladies club finals in Croke Park last Tuesday.

And she got to fulfill that proudest moment on Saturday as her side won the All-Ireland junior decider and she lifted the cup to cap a memorable year for the east Cork club.

Their first county championship title, first Munster crown and of course, first All-Ireland.

The battle at Crettyard against Corduff was a tough one. With nine minutes to go, Aghada were leading by a point. But then the floodgates opened as the Monaghan champions were reduced to 14.

Aghada, Cork v Corduff, Monaghan - All-Ireland Ladies Football Junior Club Championship Final Lauren McAllister and her dad Cathal. Source: Matt Browne/SPORTSFILE

Christine Moran found the back of the net with five minutes to go before Clare Walsh sealed the win with another goal in the dying seconds.

“Everybody pulled together the last five minutes and it really was a team effort,” Moran told Jerome Quinn for the LGFA afterwards.

“That’s what we’ve said all year through, to work it up one to 15. It was still all to play for and we really had to dig deep.

“You look to the girl beside you in the green jersey and you say, ‘You know what, I’m going to do it for her’. You look to the crowd who traveled up and the trainers and the family, and you’re like ‘This is why we do it.’”

Aghada, Cork v Corduff, Monaghan - All-Ireland Ladies Football Junior Club Championship Final There were jubilant scenes at the final whistle. Source: Matt Browne/SPORTSFILE

“It’s not just a team, it’s a family. We’re just so close, is it nearly even a bit strange how close we are?”

Their big names Farmer, Roisin Phelan and Hannah Looney — who won an All-Ireland camogie medal with Cork in September — led the charge throughout, as they rallied on for an historic national title.

“As a kid, I’ve dreamed of playing with Cork, I’ve dreamed of winning counties, I’ve dreamed of winning All-Irelands with Cork,” Looney smiled in her interview before being interrupted by a delighted supporter who works with her aunt in the club shop.

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“But to win an All-Ireland with our club, I just can’t even believe it like. Never, ever even dreamed of this one. If I achieve nothing else I think I’ll be happy after that!”

looney Hannah Looney celebrates with a supporter afterwards. Source: Ladies Football TV.

How much this meant to the players, management and supporters was evident as the final whistle sounded.

“It’s like floating on air,” Farmer told Quinn. “I can’t believe we actually went and won it. The feelings are amazing. I’m lost for words.”

As she later said at the homecoming, echoing Moran’s previous words, ‘This year we’ve become so close that we’re more than a team, we’re an actual family’.

In Crettyard however, as Farmer finished her speech after accepting the trophy, there was one last thing to do.

“I’ve one thing to sing for us there now for the road,” Looney announced after stealing the microphone as her teammates egged her on, cheering. They knew what was coming.

“I don’t know if you can see the changes that have come over me……”

A rendition of Caledonia it was. Arms around each other, fists and the cup in the air. The family had done it.

“Aghada you’re calling me now I’m going home,” they finished.

And undoubtedly, there’s been one hell of a party at home in Aghada since.

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

Cork’s Aghada claim historic All-Ireland club football title

Rise to the top! ‘First county, first Munster and fingers crossed now, first All-Ireland’

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Emma Duffy

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