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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 20 February, 2020
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Ready to go! Goodbye Leaving Cert, hello crazy summer of Gaelic football and soccer

Irish international and Cork football star Saoirse Noonan has an update on her hectic life in her weekly column.

In action against Galway.
In action against Galway.
Image: Eóin Noonan/SPORTSFILE

IT FELT LIKE I’d never get there at times, but I can finally say that I’ve finished the Leaving Cert — and I’m delighted to be finished.

The exams themselves felt like they were never-ending but I was happy enough overall, thank God, and I’m pleased to put it all behind me.

Training kind of took a back seat for the week or so of exams, but I’m back in the swing of things again. We took a break with Cork City so that fell nicely and I’m glad I didn’t miss anything. I’ve joined up with the Cork senior footballers, as planned, and we trained a few times during the exams, which meant a nice break from the books.

All focus is on the Munster final this Saturday afternoon. We’re playing Kerry so it’ll be a right battle in CIT. Everyone’s really up for it, training is intense, as always, and the mood is really good.

The senior lads are out in Páirc Uí Chaoimh that evening too so we’ll get to see that game, and it could be a great day for Cork all round!

I love it, I’m really enjoying being a part of the senior squad and keeping busy that way.

In terms of soccer, we’re up-and-running with Cork City again and looking forward to getting back to business this weekend. It’s been a while since I’ve played a match so I’m excited to get back out on the pitch against UCD on Sunday.

Saoirse Noonan and Catherine Cronin We play UCD Waves on Sunday. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

I’ve been watching a lot of games with the World Cup, and of course, Ireland in their World Cup qualifiers against Norway for France 2019 last week. I didn’t get to Tallaght Stadium for the home fixture as it was in the middle of my exams.

I was glued to the TV for the away match though and​ I thought they ​did very well. They were unlucky not to get a result against the Norwegians who are top seeds in the group.

Overall, it was a positive campaign and it bodes well going forward. Especially the fact that they got that outstanding result against The Netherlands in Nijmegen. It was unreal to keep it 0-0.

One huge positive that can be drawn is the fact that so many younger girls stepped up to the mark when it mattered most. The squad was obviously plagued with injury, and then even in the last game when Diane Caldwell and Niamh Fahey were out, Claire O’Riordan was one of the strongest players on the pitch in defence while she’s a natural attacker.

Attention turns back to the club scene now, and as I said National League returns this weekend. UCD will be a tough one, we’ve only ever beaten them once and that was in the Cup final last year.

Everyone always refers back to that day because I think it’s the highlight of everyone’s career. Win or lose, playing in the Aviva is something that’s always going to be a memory.

We always look back on it, but then again we never forget the days we got hammered 7-0 and 8-0 a few seasons ago. From those days when I first came into the squad, to playing in the Aviva and winning a Cup final, I think that shows how much we have improved as a team and club.

fk Frank Kelleher.

One man behind a lot of that was Frank Kelleher and last week, he took over the academy teams at Cobh Ramblers. It was a bit of a sad one to see him go but we all know that he has a great career ahead of him there.

He brought the club so far, he did so much for us. He was also instrumental in the merger with Cork City men so we’ll always remember him for that. We all want the best for him and are sure he’s going to go on and do great things with Cobh.

With City, we’re all ready to push ourselves back to where we were. It’s been a bit of a mixed bag, a bit all over the place this year, but as a team we’ve pulled together.

At the start of the season, I don’t think we had the same want and willingness to win as we did going into the Cup final. I think we’ve found that again though, and everyone’s eager to get going again.

Well, I know I am anyway! With both Gaelic and soccer.

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