WHAT an amazing year it has been for Orla Finn – and it’s not over yet.
The hot-shot Kinsale forward was presented with a Celtic Ross West Cork Sports Star of the Month award for September at the Celtic Ross hotel in Rosscarbery on Tuesday night, in recognition of her influential role in Cork’s sixth All-Ireland senior football win in a row.
Finn, who kicked 0-3 in the final against Dublin, was joined by her parents Eileen and Ger, and Brian O’Halloran, as she was centre stage at Tuesday night’s awards ceremony.
And being centre stage is nothing new to the Cork forward who is having the year of her life, as she explains.
‘So much has happened for me this year, from the league final to the Munster final to the All-Ireland final with Cork, and then winning the county intermediate final for the first time with Kinsale and then being able to play in the senior championship with West Cork,’ said the 24-year-old, who teaches at St Joseph’s Boys National School in Cobh.
The inter-county season is now over, and so is West Cork’s run in the county senior football championship after last weekend’s semi-final loss to Mourneabbey, so now Finn is focusing all her energy on Kinsale’s Munster adventure.
The Tuesday night after Cork’s All-Ireland final win, Finn helped Kinsale ladies win the county junior football final against Dromtarriff, 4-17 to 1-14. It was a moment of history – the first time Kinsale won this title and now intermediate football beckons next season.
It also opened the door to the Munster JFC series for Finn and her teammates. Last Saturday they beat Kerry side Austin Stacks (6-19 to 1-12) in the provincial quarter-final, and now they take on Dungarvan in Mallow this Saturday in a Munster semi-final at 1pm. Exciting times for Finn and co.
‘It’s history for Kinsale to go up to intermediate. The county final was on the Tuesday after the All-Ireland final but I was on a high so it was an easy game to play,’ Finn explained.
‘It’s fantastic to be in a Munster semi-final now, we have such an unbelieveable bunch of players. I am the third oldest on the team so that shows you how many talented players are coming up through the ranks.
‘It would be fantastic to get a Munster medal with the club. These girls have been training so hard over the last few years. We were beaten by Bantry in the county final last season but this is our year, the girls have put in the hard training and we are reaping the rewards now.’
This is a year that Finn doesn’t want to end, and she admits she’s enjoying playing football this year, moreso than ever before.
‘I think it was confidence,’ Finn answered, when asked what’s the difference between this year and past seasons.
‘When someone as successful as Valerie Mulcahy steps down, then others have to step up, and I felt it was my time to step up. This was my sixth year on the panel.
‘I wanted to prove myself this year and when there is a new management team, then you need to prove yourself to them and show them what you are capable of. It was a fresh start for everyone.
‘I was delighted when things started going well for me from the start of the league, and it was onwards and upwards from there.’
The full Kinsale panel includes Christina Broderick, Orla Finn, Aisling Judge, Neasa O’Leary, Rebecca Murphy, Aisling Lee, Danielle Murphy, Lisa Copithorne, Lorraine Copithorne, Aoife Keating, Grace Cronin, Christine Keohane, Georgina Buckley, Sinéad Keating, Clare Tyner, Ellen Murphy, Meadhbh O’Leary, Caoimhe O’Callaghan, Saoirse Crowley, Emma O’Brien, Kelly Marie Crowley, Sadhbh O’Leary, Hester McCarthy, Tracy McCarthy, Georgia Gould, Niamh Steenson, Cara O’Dwyer, Juliette Cronin, Niamh Cronin, Jennifer Murphy, Dara Tyner and Faye Ahern.
Coaches and mentors are Micheal O’Connor, Siobhan Noonan, Ger Finn (Orla’s father), Gene O’Callaghan and Chris Cronin, with a medical team of Dr Padraig McGillicuddy, Trudy McGillicuddy and Carol Nyhan.