THE women footballers of Cork and Monaghan yesterday brought down the curtain on a champagne season of Gaelic games which gave spell-bound audiences so much excitement and joy since early summer. And last night the Liam MacCarthy Cup was welcomed to an unusual venue at the Fairgreen in Ennis where thousands of Clare hurling fans celebrated late into the night.
Davy Fitzgerald's 'Banner' team have written a welcome new page in the history of Irish sport, getting the better of a valiant young Cork team over two pulsating games.
It was one of many epic contests in hurling and football which lit up all our lives this year. It was a very good year for Gaelic football and a brilliant year for hurling. Our games have once more given us cause for hope and pride as a nation.
It was also a year in which the women footballers and camogie players showed themselves the equal of their male counterparts. The era when the women players were alternately ignored and patronised is thankfully over.
All the Irish people owe a great debt to the volunteers who work tirelessly for one of the world's great sporting organisations, the Gaelic Athletic Association. We salute the women and men in all of the counties who fielded with passion and pride in Championship 2013.
These numerous and memorable games brought a welcome tonic for national morale after five relentless years of economic woe. And as the old saying has it, 'At ten to five on a given Sunday in September your team is back in the championship and you can hope again'.
We await with impatience the GAA Championship 2014.