# road to the final
Mayo's Carnacon contingent aiming to banish Croke Park demons through club success
‘I don’t think you can ever get over losing an All-Ireland’ – Martha Carter is hoping to right the wrongs with her club.

EXPERIENCED MAYO STAR Martha Carter admits that she still hasn’t dealt fully with the fall-out from last September’s TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football final defeat to Dublin.

Martha Carter and Cora Courtney 1/12/2013 Ryan Byrne / INPHO Carter in action for Carnacon in 2013. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Mayo fell to a 12-point loss against the Sky Blues in front of a record final attendance of 46,286 at Croke Park — and Carter was joined on the starting team by Carnacon club-mates Marie Corbett, Fiona McHale, Doireann Hughes and Cora Staunton.

Another journey deep into the business end of the club campaign has helped to occupy the minds of the Carnacon contingent since then and on Sunday, they travel to Augher in Tyrone to play St Macartan’s in the All-Ireland senior semi-final.

Carter, (34), is anxious to finish the year on a high note, and then she’ll begin to process Mayo’s disappointment.

Carter explained: “I don’t think you can ever get over losing an All-Ireland.

“We hadn’t been there for so long. But you’re straight back into the club, we had a (county) semi-final the week after we lost the All-Ireland and it distracts you a bit.

“But when you start talking about it and thinking about it, it’s something that’s still there and something that hasn’t been dealt with properly.

“I’ll start thinking about it after the club but your mind would drift back to it on your own. I don’t think anyone can ever forget losing an All-Ireland – it doesn’t matter if it’s a day, month, or a couple of years.”

Carter says that she will consider her inter-county future in the New Year, as close friend Staunton prepares for a crack at the professional life with the Greater Western Sydney Giants in the Women’s AFL.

Cora Staunton dejected Ryan Byrne / INPHO Staunton dejected after Mayo's All-Ireland final loss in September. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Carter reflected: “Yeah, it’s mad as in it’s something she deserves and has worked so hard for.

“It’s a serious opportunity and Cora being the first person to go over there is brill.

“We’ll definitely miss her. Regardless of whether we go back to county or not, she’ll be missing for the League for whoever is there.

“Hopefully she won’t miss too many games with the club, we might have an odd League game here and there.

“We’re all delighted for her and she’ll be a huge success down there. It will be interesting to see how she gets on and we’ll be watching. I can’t speak highly enough of Cora.”

Carter also revealed that, along with friends, she’s considered the prospect of travelling to Australia to watch Staunton play for her new club.

The more immediate focus, however, is on Carnacon’s quest for a sixth All-Ireland senior club title.

Carnacon were champions last in 2013 and Carter admits that playing first-time Ulster winners St Macartan’s, conquerors of last year’s All-Ireland winners Donaghmoyne, represents a trip into the unknown.

Aoife Loftus and Cora Staunton celebrate at the final whistle Ryan Byrne / INPHO Carnacon players celebrate winning the title in 2013. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Carter says: “We’ve never played them before but we’d know a bit about them.

“They were building towards that and knocking out the All-Ireland champions was a huge statement.”

But Carnacon are battle-hardened, having come through a classic Connacht final replay with Galway’s Kilkerrin-Clonberne.

And Carter said: “If anything, those two games raised the profile of club football a bit. The crowds we had at both games were unbelievable.

“Fair play to Kilkerrin-Clonberne, we’ve always had huge battles and there’s a rivalry there but hopefully the two games will have brought us on.

“We’ve struggled in the championship so far and after losing the All-Ireland with Mayo, and coming back to the club, it’s hard to get the mind and body right.

“It has taken us a bit longer to settle into the club championship and we did struggle in the early rounds but those two games were of huge benefit, with a high standard on both days.”

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