WEST Cork Junior Sports Star of the Year winner Fiona Keating is coming off the busiest 12 months of her fledgling career.
The instantly likeable GAA rising star produced consistently for club, division and county during 2019. A worthy recipient of the 2019 Junior Sports Star accolade, Keating beat off stiff competition in Daire O’Brien (camogie), Ryan O’Donovan (GAA) and Liam Murray (soccer) for the trophy.
Keating’s heroics in helping Cork win both 2019 minor football and camogie All-Ireland titles tipped the balance in the Courcey Rovers player’s favour. Refreshingly, receiving a West Cork Junior Sports Star award means just as much as those two All-Ireland medals to the Kinsale Community College Leaving Cert student.
‘I am really honoured to be receiving this award,’ Keating told The Southern Star.
‘I am grateful to The Southern Star, the Celtic Ross Hotel, C103 for choosing me. There were so many other great sports stars up for this year’s Youths Award. I mean, there was Ryan O’Donovan and look at all he achieved with the Cork U20s and coming in during the All-Ireland final to help them win. So, to be announced as the overall award winner, I’m absolutely delighted.’
One of the most active sports youths in the county, Keating enters her Leaving Certificate year excelling for her school’s basketball team (winning a county title) but knowing GAA and other sporting commitments will have to be curtailed over the coming months.
‘I was just so used to it year that I just kept going and going,’ the Courcey Rovers player stated.
‘Four days a week I would get up at 8am and leave the house before going straight to training following after-school study. I wouldn’t see back home again until 10pm that night.
‘My teachers were hugely supportive and gave me extra help if I needed it so I knew I could always rely on them. Looking back, I have begun asking myself just how I managed it all. When you are in the middle of it, you just don’t realise how much work you are putting in.’
On the field, there is little doubt that 2019 was a remarkable year for the double All-Ireland winner. In the middle of all her sporting achievements, reaching a county senior football final with West Cork was just as special.
‘I was involved with both the minor and junior football teams as well the senior camogie team for my hometown club Courcey Rovers,’ Keating noted.
‘We won a West Cork minor title last year but lost out to a very strong St Finbarr’s team in the second round of the county. I also lined out for my West Cork division and reached another senior football county final where we lost to All-Ireland champions Mourneabbey. I thought we were unlucky to come out the wrong side of that result, but look, we will have another crack off it again next year.
‘I love playing for West Cork and it is unreal to be on the same team as so many Cork senior players. It is never a burden to train or play for Brian McCarthy and Anne O’Grady.’