BY DARAGH Ó CONCHÚIR
JENNIFER O’Leary continues to prove that class is permanent. The eight-time All-Star and four-time senior All-Ireland winner made a critical second-half contribution with 1-3 to propel Armagh to a 1-13 to 2-3 victory over Cavan in the recent All-Ireland premier junior camogie semi-final at O’Connor Park.
The mother-of-two’s last contribution for the Rebels came in the 2014 All-Ireland final, which Cork won with O’Leary’s brilliant goal helping them overturn a five-point interval deficit.
The Middletown clubwoman, formerly of Barryroe, opted to make an inter-county return this year and now, the 38-year-old is looking forward to a Croke Park return when Armagh take on Clare in the All-Ireland final on Sunday next, August 7th.
‘I thought about coming on board with Armagh for a long time before I bit the bullet. I had been away a long time, my time with Cork feels like a different world, but I figured if I don’t try, I might regret it, and I wanted the challenge,’ the West Cork woman says.
‘It’s been good, but it’s been hard. It’s tough having two small ones at home, it’s not very easy getting out when you’ve one of them hanging off you as you’ve to go to training! But at the same time, I feel that it’s the right thing to do, I hope that I’ll be a role model for my young daughter Lauren and that she’ll play camogie when she gets older. ‘The girls have been very welcoming, I’ve never felt under pressure to perform or anything like that, I just go out and enjoy myself.’
O'Leary's reward is an All-Ireland final in Croke Park – and no doubt she’ll shine on the big stage, again. With Cork in action in the senior and intermediate finals, it’s going to be a special day.