Rebel ladies edge out Dubs in nailbiting comeback
HATS, scarves and headbands - the TG4 Ladies' All-Ireland kicked off in sporting fashion as almost 30,000 supporters flocked to Croke Park to watch six teams battle for victory.
Women and girls from all over the country - and across the Atlantic - put on three exhilarating performances in the junior, intermediate and senior finals. Wexford proved too strong for New York, winning by 1-12 to 1-10; Down demolished Fermanagh 6-16 to 1-10; but Cork's nail-biting comeback over Dublin had all the fans out of their seats. In front of an estimated 600,000 TG4 viewers, the rebel ladies won their 9th Senior All-Ireland title in the past decade, finishing 2-13 to 2-12.
And for Brid Stack, aka "Stackie", who has played every minute of the last 10 finals, it's been the best one yet. "It's pretty unbelievable, I don't think it will set in for a good bit but it's definitely the closest one yet to come back from, being 10 points down at half-time," she said.
Despite the sea of blue, it was the Cork supporters who had travelled the greatest distance and who played a vital role.
"There was a lot of shouting for Dublin when they got their scores but the Cork supporters did an amazing job, they kept us going after every score," said Cork star Deirdre O'Reilly.
Speaking before the match, Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Christy Burke, called for more backing and sponsorship in the ladies' game.
"I've been promoting the finals all week telling people to get behind the girls. I'd like to see more PR in place for all ladies, they need to be encouraged and supported," said Mr Burke, who attended the match with his granddaughter, Mairead Manning (11).
Up for the match and dressed head to toe in their county colours, Martin Hickey (6) and sister Sinead (9), made sure they were at Cork's Kent train station at 9am.
"Girls' football is way better than the boys, I can play forward and in goals and my biggest dream is to play in Croke Park," said Sinead, from Ballinspittle, south Cork.