Bantry star has All-Ireland qualifier and Leaving Cert results to look forward to
BY KIERAN McCARTHY
EMMA Spillane has always been keen to prove she's a cut above the rest.
When she was just five years old Emma got hold of a scissors and, cutting out the middleman (or hair-dresser in this case), she chopped her long hair into a bob.
It was DIY hairdressing at its finest.
A career as a hairdresser hasn't materialised just yet, but the Bantry teenager (18) has now shown herself to be one of the top young footballers in the county.
This is her first year on the Cork senior panel, and she's already impressed in the football league and made her championship debut, and now she's preparing for bank holiday Monday's All-Ireland ladies senior football qualifier against Monaghan at O'Connor Park, Tullamore (3pm).
It's a must-win game for the Rebels if they are to keep their All-Ireland hopes alive, and it's also a welcome distraction for Spillane.
Nine days after Monday's match she'll discover her Leaving Cert results.
âThe football is helping me take my mind off the results,' she laughs.
âI'm trying not to think about them too much so Monday's game is good like that, it gives you something else to focus on and think about.'
And Spillane admits All-Ireland champions Cork have been working hard since their two Munster championship defeats to Waterford and Kerry, losses that have sent them off on the scenic route in their bid to get back to Croke Park.
Defender Spillane started her first senior championship game when Cork lost to Waterford (3-11 to 1-11) in Fraher Field on June 4th, just days before her Leaving Cert exams, but she sat out the following defeat to Kerry in Killarney on June 17th, as she had missed two weeks of training to focus on her exams.
âIt's a tough draw against Monaghan, we know that, but we have players who have been down this road before and have come through the qualifiers to win an All-Ireland so that experience is great to have,' said Spillane, who is in her first year as a Cork senior.
âBrÃd Stack, Annie Walsh, Martina O'Brien, Ciara O'Sullivan, Orla Finn, they're all very experienced so while there's a few young players on the team this year we still have a good few players who know what it takes to win an All-Ireland.'
The highly-rated Spillane has come up through the ranks with the Cork U16s and minors, and has a huge haul of medals to prove it, and now she's stepping up to the senior ranks.
âIt's definitely more physical, you find that out straightaway. It was a bit of a shock at the start but you need to get used to it fast. All of a sudden you're up against older and stronger players so you need to adapt fast,' Spillane explained.
âIt's great having the older players in the team, they encourage you all the time, give advice and bring you along, and they make it easier.'
Working in The Quays Bar in Bantry for the summer, she's bracing herself for a busy few weeks, and if Cork get over Monaghan on Monday, then thoughts will drift to Wednesday week and her Leaving Cert results.
â¢ The All-Ireland ladies minor A football championship final between Cork and Galway follows the senior qualifier in Tullamore on Monday, 4.45pm.