Chasing All-Ireland club glory 10 weeks after Cork triumph in Croke Park

Orla Finn is hoping for another day of celebration.

Orla Finn celebrates with Aine O'Sullivan Orla Finn celebrating Cork's 2016 All-Ireland final win Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IF WINNING ALL-IRELAND finals are meant to spark a blaze of celebration and downtime, last September proved different for Orla Finn.

On the last Sunday of the month, she struck 0-3 to help Cork claim the All-Ireland senior title. 48 hours later, she was helping guide her club Kinsale to lift the Cork junior crown.

The following weekend, Finn was integral on the Saturday as Kinsale surmounted their opening Munster hurdle before her successful run was halted on the Sunday with the West Cork ladies senior team.

But that winning habit didn’t desert her for long. Kinsale have charged forward through the winter. Today almost ten weeks after helping Cork win the Brendan Martin Cup, Finn is back in an All-Ireland final. Dublin’s St Maurs are the opponents as Kinsale try to become junior champions.

“The Sunday night after winning with Cork, I just went out and enjoyed the the All-Ireland,” says Finn.

“On Monday then I started thinking about the club games. But after winning an All-Ireland, it’s easy to play a club game after that because you’re so high on adrenaline, it got me through the week when I’d four games.”

September’s triumph capped a season where Finn was an integral part of Cork’s success. Yet claiming All-Ireland medals is nothing new to her as she already had five stashed away at home.

Source: NemetonTV/Vimeo

“I think to be honest three of them really stand out for me,” says Finn.

“My first one in 2011, when I came on and was going through and got fouled for a penalty. Rhona scored it, she’s brilliant at getting goals.

“Definitely the 2014 one being 10 points down to coming back and winning by a point, was always one that you’re never going to forget and I started that year as well.

“And I started this year as well. The year that I’ve had has been so good, I’ll never forget it.”

Finn stepped up to become a dominant figure in the scoring stakes for Cork this season. She saw Valerie Mulcahy, an attacking star she aspired to be, retire last winter and a new management team was ushered into place.

The Kinsale player assumed the free taking responsibilities. She kicked 3-48 as Cork swept to league honours in the spring. In the summer they was 1-4 in the quarter-final against Cavan, 1-3 in the semi-final against Monaghan and that 0-3 haul against Dublin, which proved invaluable on a sodden, tough day for football in the final.

Her maiden All-Star award was justifiable recognition of her brilliant form.

TG4 Ladies Football All Stars awards Orla Finn won her first All-Star award this year Source: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

“When I was younger I used to be watching Valerie play on television and to play up alongside her was great.

“She was in the same position as me as well, corner-forward so she was always someone I used to watch and learn from.”

“The new management were taking over so you have to prove yourself all over again. Our league game against Tyrone I remember coming on at half-time, I played well and it was from then really I got confidence. I was given the nod to start in a lot of the games.

“When someone as successful as Valerie retires, the rest of us have to step up because she was the main scorer.”

Valerie Mulcahy Valerie Mulcahy celebrates Cork's All-Ireland triumph in September. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“I used to always take frees for the club over the last number of years. Then with Cork it’s the same thing but just on a larger scale.

“There’s a bit more pressure on you to get them but I relished the challenge and I was delighted to be given the opportunity.”

inpho_01058347 Orla Finn is part of Elverys #BringTheColour nationwide campaign

One member of the new Cork management team was well-placed to offer free-taking advice.

“James (Masters) was fantastic. He used to practice frees with us before training, he came down to Kinsale to help me practice before some of the big games.

“He’d always be giving advice as well so it was fantastic to have someone with his experience in our setup.”

What are they
really like?

Rare insights on sport's biggest names from the writers who know them best. Listen to Behind the Lines podcast.

Become a Member

James Masters James Masters in action for Cork in 2009 Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Having sampled All-Ireland glory days with Cork, the aim now is to translate that success to the club stage.

Finn is the flag-bearer for Kinsale. In her early sporting days, athletics consumed most of her time but her focus is firmly on ladies football now.

“I was doing athletics since I was 7. I used to do everything really, cross country and then with the track events, hurdles, long jump and 800m were my main events.

“There was no football club in Kinsale until I was 10 so athletics was my number one for a while.

“My parents really were the big motivators. I played Cork underage since I was 13. My Dad was always involved with the club, helping out with training and he’s selector now with us.

“Having him alongside me and Mum bringing me to all the training and games was fantastic.

“It came to a stage then that I’d to pick between athletics and football because both of them required such time. I’m delighted I picked football because of the team sport.”


All-Ireland junior ladies club football final
Kinsale (Cork) v St Maurs (Dublin)
Netwatch Cullen Park, 1pm

The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us!

Daly surprised by Dublin direction but understands Cunningham’s desire for change

Galway and Connacht champions hoping to put ‘the cherry on top’ of an incredible year

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

Read next: