Morgan Treacy/INPHO
# bravery
'I heard about Jonny Cooper, it could happen to anyone, anywhere' - Alisha Jordan
The New York ladies footballer also suffered an unprovoked attack, but hasn’t let it defeat her and will play in All-Ireland junior final this weekend.

THERE WON’T BE MANY footballers lining out in Croke Park this weekend braver than Alisha Jordan.

Back in August 2012, the then 19-year-old was the victim of a horrific unprovoked attack by a lone assailant in New York City.

The Meath native was walking home from a night out with a friend when she was set-upon with a brick. Jordan suffered a broken nose, two broken cheekbones and fractures to both her orbital bones.

A cut just above her eye required 43 stitches not to mention the psychological wounds she suffered.

She’s been living in New York since she was 17 and this weekend Jordan will join her friends on the field for the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Junior final against Wexford.

On a week when Dublin footballer Jonny Cooper suffered an appalling unprovoked attack in the capital, Jordan admits it was only a case of both of them being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Yeah Jonny Cooper, I heard about it. It’s crazy, that’s what I mean: it could happen to anyone, anywhere. It’s about your luck. I know myself that I wasn’t actually personally targeted, I just so happened to run into the wrong person.

“I did suffer greatly because of it but I never went through the whole ‘why me?’ stage. It happened to me, I got over it, there was nothing I could do about it at that stage.”

Kyla Trainor, Niamh McGowan, Aisling Moane, Marita McDonald, Vera Foley, Roisin Phelan, Sinead Goldrick, Carla Rowe, Ciara Donnelly and Alisha Jordan Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Jordan was told that she would never play football again, such was the extent of her injuries, but the sport wasn’t something she was prepared to give up.

“They told me to never play football again. I told them ‘right yeah, no problem’. But I knew myself that as soon as I felt better and felt I could do it, I’d be back playing. I did, I got back into it and obviously I didn’t play contact sport for a while but I got back running and got my fitness back.

“I got a face mask made specially so that I could play sports which I wore for a year in New York. Thankfully now I don’t have to play it any more and obviously I have that split-second decision when I’m going in for a 50-50 tackle. I’m probably the one taking the bigger risk out of the two, but it’s not something I think of playing football anymore. I’ve totally put it behind me.”

Her spirit and optimism is remarkable and inspirational. She found solace in football and won’t ever let that incident define her, admitting that it has only added fuel to her desire to succeed.

“I was never going to just take the attack lying down or let it defeat me. I use football as my crutch and I use the girls as my support system. It got me where I am today and I’m very thankful.

“But I didn’t let it define me at all; that year I went on to captain the Cavan team to the county championship in New York. I know I had the negative because of the attack but I needed to have a positive too and thankfully winning the championship was that.

“When something like that happens to you, it changes your whole perspective on life and I think it’s definitely made me a better person and better at dealing with things.

“Especially with occasions like this coming up to Croke Park, I’m totally motivated to do it because after two years of suffering, this is the place I deserve to be and this team deserve to be after being my support system and hopefully we’ll use that to our advantage on Sunday.”

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