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After 15 years at the top, Limerick stalwart Mulcahy's first All-Star was long overdue

The Ahane star forward was finally recognised on Saturday night.

Niamh Mulcahy receiving her award.
Niamh Mulcahy receiving her award.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

WAKING UP YESTERDAY morning and scrolling down my Twitter feed, it felt like I was seeing the same thing over and over.

Finally.

About time.

Long overdue.

A long time coming.

The original tweet was one announcing Limerick stalwart Niamh Mulcahy as a 2019 Camogie All-Star award winner, and the mutual feeling across the length and breadth of the country was that this was richly deserved after she had come close so many times before.

There she was, named at right-half forward after being overlooked time and time again.

It really was hard to believe that this was this outstanding talent’s first All-Star.

2019 was the Ahane star forward’s 15th campaign soldiering for the Treaty, and a memorable one, indeed. One that was capped on Saturday night in the Citywest Hotel.

Limerick reached the knockout stage of the championship for the first time in 14 years, so it was rather fitting that 29-year-old Mulcahy was finally recognised with a first-ever All-Star. 

niamh-mulcahy-with-karen-kennedy Facing Tipp earlier this year. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Players that exit at the quarter-final stage — a Waterford duo were also included — are quite a rarity in All-Star teams across each and every code, but Mulcahy is someone who has waited far too long for this.

She’s the one who continually grabs the headlines, receives the credit in match reports and lands Player of the Match accolades, mainly because of her prolific scoring and unerring accuracy from placed ball. It’s rather surprising that she’s been overlooked — until now — for the biggest prizes in the game. 

Mulcahy has been absolutely central to Limerick’s plans year in, year out. Their entire game revolves around her.

This was her fifth nomination in 15 seasons of inter-county action since 2005 — she was shortlisted four times in the past five years, and also back in 2009 — and while she was named Young Player of the Year in 2007 and scooped an Intermediate Soaring Star award in 2014, she’s never dined at the top table in this sense.

But most people know to take All-Stars with a pinch of salt across the board in every code.

They’re highly subjective with secrecy surrounding camogie and ladies football selection committees, in particular. Star players are often overlooked, others are chosen out of position just to be included with quotas and certain numbers per counties assumed to be reached.

There’s no doubt about it, Mulcahy’s 2019 was definitely deserving of a first award.

Just remember her incredible All-Ireland quarter-final goal against Tipperary at Semple Stadium. A moment of individual brilliance which encapsulated just how remarkable of a player she is. 

If there was a Goal of the Year award, she’d most definitely scoop that too.

Not only is she a class act on the pitch, she’s the same off it with that as clear as day from the many lovely tweets congratulating her. A message from her beloved club, Ahane, says it all:

We are so unbelievably proud of Niamh, not only because she is a top class player but because she is an outstanding person and someone who we are lucky to have as our a member of our club.

Modesty is one of the many words that springs to mind when you think of  Mulcahy, and that certainly shone through in an interview with The42 in June 2017. She’s not the biggest fan of the limelight, and is one to play the attention down — seen best after she was named Player of the Match in Limerick’s first-ever Munster senior title win that year.

“I was pretty much mortified to be named Player of the Match because I was just hitting frees. That’s my job as a free-taker,” she said. “The reason we won that match was because we kept a clean sheet, and we kept a clean sheet because all the backs did their job, and even further out the field at midfield.

niamh-mulcahy-and-muireann-creamer-dejected-at-the-end-of-the-game Dejection after a league game in March. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“I feel sorry for the backs in general because it always seems to be the forwards that tend to get all the credit. You see it especially in camogie. Most of the time after a match, it’s the one report from all the games that filters out and all anyone wants to know is who scored whatever.”

Well, just now is this forward getting the proper credit and recognition she deserves for things she has always done so, so well, year in, year out as she shows no signs of slowing down.

After 15 years at the top, Niamh Mulcahy’s first All-Star was most definitely long overdue.

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Emma Duffy

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