Roll of Honour
Team of the Century
The Camogie Team of the Century
Back row from left, Sheila Wallace, Ardstiúrthóir, Cumann Camógaíochta na nGael, Liz Neary, Kilkenny, Marie Costine O'Donovan, Cork, Mary Sinnott Dinan, Wexford, Bridie Martin McGarry, Kilkenny, Sandie Fizgibbon, Cork, Margaret O'Leary Leacy, Wexford, Linda Mellerick, Cork, Marian Carolan, on behalf of the late Kathleen Mills Hill, Dublin, and Mary Fennelly, on behalf of Angela Downey Browne, Kilkenny.
Front row, from left, Eileen Duffy O'Mahony, Dublin, Mairead McAtamney Magill, Antrim, An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, T.D, Miriam O'Callaghan, Uachtaran, Cumann Camógaíochta na nGael, Una O'Connor, Dublin, Nancy McCarthy, on behalf of the late Sophie Brack, her sister, Pat Moloney Lenihan, Cork, and Deirdre Hughes, Tipperary, at the Cumann Camógaíocht na nGael centenary celebrations at the CityWest Hotel, Dublin. Picture credit; Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE *EDI*
Eileen Duffy-O'Mahony (Dublin)
She played with Celtic and won five Dublin county championships. Representing Dublin from ’49 to ’57 she won 8 All Ireland medals in that golden era of Dublin Camogie. She had the honour of captaining the team when she won her last All Ireland in ’57.Eileen was the Leinster goalkeeper when the first Inter Provincial game was played in Navan to mark the Golden Jubilee of Cumann Camogaiochta in 1954. Twice selected as Sports Star of the Year in ’51 and ’57.
Her daughters Niamh, Sheila and Gráinne played for Celtic and Gráinne played for Dublin.
Quick to react between the posts, sure and confident, she had a great understanding with her backs. Her lengthy clearance and long puck out were other features of her game.
Liz Neary (Kilkenny)
Liz captained Presentation Convent, Kilkenny to a second successive All Ireland Colleges success in 1970 and went on to become a household name.
A key player for Kilkenny for over seventeen years, she won 7 All Ireland titles. She captained her county to All Ireland successs in ’81 and ’86.She holds five National League and five InterProvincial Gael Linn medals. At club level she won 6 All Ireland Club Championships with the famous St.Pauls and one with Austin Stacks (Dublin.)
Honoured by B&I as Player of the Year in ’81 and again in ’85, she was voted Kilkenny Camogie Player of the Year those same years.In 1999 she received the Kilkenny Hall of Fame Award.
Her outstanding range of skills, power, speed and positional sense made her a most versatile player. She played in the forwards and at midfield but will be remembered best for her consistently outstanding displays at full back.
Marie Costine-O'Donovan (Cork)
Marie played club Camogie with both Killeagh and Imokilly winning ten Cork County Championships and an All Ireland Club Championship in 1980 when Killeagh defeated a great Buffers Alley side. She was the first Cloyne girl to bring an All Ireland to Cloyne, home of the great Christy Ring. She contributed significantly to the success of a talented Cork team that won the four -in -a row 1970-’73 and added another All Ireland in ‘ 78. She captained the Rebels in ’73.That same year her superb displays were recognized when she was chosen Player of the Year, an award sponsored by Elverys. Her sister Kathleen was an outstanding goalkeeper for Cork and holds 3 senior All Irelands; her nephew Sean Óg Cusack is the present Cork goalkeeper. Possessing superb ball control, composed and confidant, she revelled in catching and clearing, She was at her best under pressure and made life difficult for forwards through skill and determination. A superb full-back. On her day she could keep any forward at bay.
Mary Sinnott-Dinan (Wexford)
Mary played club Camogie with Tagmon and Oylegate-Glenbrien. She was one of the most consistent Wexford stars when Dublin dominated the game in the 50’s and 60’s. Wexford made the break through in 1968 when the Model county won the O Duffy Cup for the first time. On that day, she gave a brilliant display at full back. She was an automatic choice on the Leinster team for a period of 10 years winning two Gael Linn medals in ’62 and ’65. In 1965 she was Wexford Player of the Year and received the Hall of Fame Award in 1980. She also excelled at badminton and represented Ireland on 59 occasions and was voted Wexford Badminton Star in 1965 and again in 1988.
Tall and athletic, Mary was very confident on the ball, a fine catcher and striker, she was capable of turning defence into attack with one puck of the sliotar.
Bridie Martin-McGarry (Kilkenny)
Bridie first played Camogie when she went to Presentation Convent where she won an All Ireland Senior Colleges title. She played with Thornbrack and Lisdowney before winning several county championships and 3 Club All Ireland medals with the great St.Paul’s club. She first played with Kilkenny senior team in 1972 and went on to win nine All Ireland medals as part of a supremely talented team. She was captain in ‘85 and again in ’87. Seven National League and 8 Gael Linn medals add to her collection. In ’76 she was chosen as the B&I Player of the Year, added the Kilkenny Sports Star award and Irish Nationwide also honoured her with a 'Women in Sport' Award.
A talented soccer player she was chosen to play for Ireland but had to withdraw due to the clash of fixtures between Camogie and soccer. She is now involved in coaching the Development Squad in Kilkenny and is also a referee.
She made Camogie look easy, her range of skills a joy to watch. Her dainty physique belied her strength under the dropping ball. Always distributing the ball to best advantage she was an attacking centre-back;
A position she was unchallenged for in an era of many Kilkenny stars.
Sandie Fitzgibbon (Cork)
From school and minor days Sandie displayed great skill. A talent from the great Glen Rovers Club she won ten Cork County Championship and four All Ireland club championships. She also holds one Colleges All Ireland, three minor and six senior All Ireland, seven National League and two Gael Linn medals. She captained Cork to victory in 1992 when they defeated Wexford. She also shone at basketball and won numerous titles including National Cup and National League titles. At international level she won 64 senior caps. She received the Delta Airlines Olympic Award for basketball.
Her Camogie talent was widely recognized, Sandie won many awards including, “Munster Young Camogie Player” 1983, National Irish Bank “Player of the Year” in 1992 and 1995 and was twice Jury’s Hotel Sports Star of the Month.
In 2000 she received the Cork Lord Mayors Millennium Camogie Award.
Possessing huge natural sporting ability, compact and tidy in her movements, allied to great speed, she was a most influential player who could control a game with ease. Sandie was very polished performer whether at midfield or centre- back.
Margaret O'Leary-Leacy (Wexford)
Margaret from the Buffers Alley club won three club All Ireland Championships to add to the one she won while playing with Eoghan Ruadh, Dublin in 1967. When Wexford brought the O'Duffy Cup to the Model County in 1968 and 1969 she made a big contribution to those victories. In 1975 Wexford won again when she starred at full back against a star studded Cork forward line. She holds eight Gael Linn medals. Margaret was selected as the Gaelic All Star Player of the Year in 1968. Twice voted Wexford Powers Sport Star of the Year 1966 and ’68. Dedicated to the promotion of Camogie she is now Chairperson of the Oulart the Ballagh club where she trained 5 Feile na nGael teams to All Ireland success. She still plays junior camogie with her club. Her daughters Mary and Una are current Wexford stars, with Mary captaining the side to All Ireland glory in '07 and Una following this up in 2010. A player of remarkable all round ability, she was equally at home at midfield or in the backs. A powerful striker, she was capable of turning defence into attack with one puck of the sliotar. Highly motivated, determined and full of energy she inspired her team -mates.
Mairead McAtamney-Magill (Antrim)
Mairead came to prominence with Dominican College, Portstewart when she both played and trained the school team to Ulster Colleges success in 1961 and ’62. She won eleven Antrim County Championships with the Geraldines club during which time she also trained the team. She founded the Tir na nOg club in Randalstown 1994, where she coaches, trains, and works as an administrator. The club is now a force in Antrim Camogie. She manages and trains the Antrim U18 and is a selector on the Junior teams. She also referees.
Her impressive inter-county career spanned twenty years, from 1953 to 1983. During this time she won fifteen Ulster Championships, two All Ireland titles 1967 and 1979 and two Gael Linn medals. Mairead captained Antrim to All Ireland success in 1979. Her nieces Siobhan and Jackie were members of the Antrim team that day. She was Antrim Player of the Year in 1965, Gaelic All Star winner in 1966 and was the recipient of the B&I Award in 1979.
She manages and trains the Antrim U18 and Junior teams.
Mairead is steeped in Gaelic games, her father was first Chairman of the Roger Casement club in 1940. All five brothers played for Antrim at various levels. Tony played football for Antrim for fifteen years and was selected on the Antrim Team of the Century in 1984. Her three sisters played Camogie while Theresa also played for Antrim.The family tradition continues, her daughter Claire plays on the Antrim U16 team, while son Michael is on the Antrim senior hurling panel and on the U21 football squad.
One of the most elegant and stylish player ever to grace the game, she possessed a great range of skills. Mairead could dictate the trend of a game from midfield. She was a natural leader, a great team player as well as a major influence on those around her. Her passion for the game still burns brightly.
Linda Mellerick (Cork)
Tipperary born, Linda’s family moved to live in Cork when she was three. She started her Camogie career with the Brian Dillons club before moving to Glen Rovers, where she won ten Cork County Championships and three All Ireland Club championships. In an intercounty career which spanned 21 years she won one minor, one junior and six senior All Ireland titles, ten National Leagues and four Gael Linn titles were also added to her collection. She captained Cork to All Ireland success in 1993 again in 1997.
Linda was twice honoured with the B & I Player of the Year Award in 1993 and in 1998.
A player of great energy and skill, she covered the playing pitch in search of the action, always making herself available to help colleagues in defense or attack. Her trademark solo runs are legendary. She split many a defense as she set up or took scores. Her wonderful spirit and leadership qualities made her a most popular player.
She retired from the game in 2002 following Cork winning the All Ireland.
Sophie Brack (Dublin)
In 1948 the CIE club represented Dublin, Sophie captained the team to win the O Duffy Cup. She went on to captain Dublin winning teams on five other occasions. A unique record unlikely ever to be equaled. She won eight All Ireland medals in total. She was the pioneer of full forwards, opening up the play for others and moving into space with great intelligence. Playing at the edge of the square from where she varied her tactics making life difficult for backs and goalkeepers alike. Possessing lightening speed and great positional sense she was a prolific scorer. A legend among her peers she gave great service to the game of Camogie as a player of exceptional ability and as an able administrator Her untimely death in 1996 robbed the association of an exceptional contributor.
Kathleen Mills-Hill (Dublin)
Kathleen played in her first All Ireland Final in 1941 when Dublin lost to Cork, her inter-county career spanned twenty years. She won fifteen All Ireland medals in a sparkling career. Her record is unlikely ever to be equalled. She captained Dublin to All Ireland success in 1958. She played on the winning Leinster team when the first InterProvincial game was played to mark the Golden Jubilee of Cumann Camógaíochta in 1954.She won Gael Linn medals with Leinster in 1956 and ’58. Little and graceful, this superb midfield player had particularly neat wrist work; quick to lift and strike at full speed she could score from any angle. A master of the long-range goal, she had the knack of lobbing the sliothar in over the opposing goalkeeper’s head. She maintained the highest level of fitness over the years.In recognition of her achievements the senior All Ireland winning captain receives a trophy bearing her name.
Una O'Connor (Dublin)
Una was a key player for Celtic when the club won the first All Ireland Club Championship in 1964. Coached by legendary Cork woman Nell Mc Carthy she developed a marvellous range of skills. She won ten county Championships with her club.
She started her inter-county career winning three All Ireland titles in a row.
Antrim broke the sequence in 1956 but Dublin were back on the winning trail the following year. Una created her own record, winning ten successive All Ireland medals 1957- 1966 inclusive. She captained her team in 1963 and 64.
In 1964 she was the recipient of the Gaelic All Star Award, initiated that year. She became the first ever Camogie player to be honoured with a Caltex award, the supreme recognition of her outstanding talent.
One of the finest exponents of the game, she was a born forward. A great reader of the game, she gave accurate passes to her teammates and had a devastating shot. A beautiful striker, elusive with an exceptional body swerve and a great turn of speed she would leave her marker for dead. Modest and unassuming she played the game with grace and beauty.
Pat Moloney-Lenihan (Cork)
Pat hailed from the great Killeagh club where her skills saw her win six Cork Championships and one All Ireland Club Championship. While a student in UCC she won three Ashbourne Cup medals and played with the Combined Universities. She was still a schoolgirl when she first played for Cork. She was part of that superb team that won the Four-in -a- Row 1970- 1973 and went on to collect three more senior All Ireland medals. She led Cork to All Ireland victory in 1982.
Honoured with the B&1 Player of the Year award in 1978 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the Rebel County. She was the recipient of the Jury’s Hotel Award in 1982.
An intelligent, confident and versatile player who played right hand below left she had skill, speed and style. She was difficult to mark, as she was usually a move ahead of the opposition. Her incisive runs stretched the defence. She played at midfield before moving to the attack where she proved to be a natural and outstanding forward.
Deirdre Hughes (Tipperary)
Deirdre showed exceptional talent when Toomevara won the County Minor championship three years in a row, that talent blossomed as she won six successive senior county championships. She was a prominent member of the Tipperary team that won the Junior All Ireland in 1991 and had the honour of captaining the Intermediate team to All Ireland success in 1997. She won eight successive Gael Linn medals with Munster. In 1999 when The Premier county made the long awaited break through and won the O Duffy Cup she played a magnificent game, a performance that won her the RTE Player of the Match and The Jurys/Independent Sports Star of the Week. That same year, Munster GAA Council honoured her as Player of the Year. She won three more senior All Ireland medals and was the recipient of The Jury’s/Independent Sports Star Award and the Star Player of the Match in 2001. In 2003 she was selected on the first ever All Star Lynchpins Camogie team.
A brilliant individual player she is also the quintessential team player and is a great playmaker, always ready to give or take a pass and give encouragement to those around her. Quick to turn she can lose her marker in a second. A prolific scorer, when she moves goal wards she causes havoc. One of the most popular and respected of the modern day stars; she is the only current inter-county player to be chosen on the team.
Angela Downey-Browne (Kilkenny)
Angela had a wonderful career spanning twenty-five years; she was a mere thirteen years old when she first played at senior level for Kilkenny. She went on to win twelve senior All Ireland medals, nine National League, ten Gael Linn, twenty-two Kilkenny County Championship and six All Ireland club titles. She captained her county to All Ireland success on three occasions in 1977, ’88 and ’89. She competed in and won Gradam Tailte (skills included Camogie/athletics/gym tests) in 1984,’85 &’86.She was honoured with a B&I Player of the Year Award in 1977, an award she shared with her equally successful and honour- laden twin sister, Ann in ’86 and ’88. National Irish Bank recognized the twin sisters with an award in 1994.In 1986 she became only the third Camogie player to be awarded the prestigious Texaco Award.
Hurling was in her blood as her father Shem won an All Ireland with Kilkenny in 1947.
A player of breathtaking skill, power, intelligence, vision and speed, she was highly competitive and motivated .She could rip a defence apart in seconds. When she got the ball there was buzz of excitement and anticipation. Her scoring power was phenomenal. The game has seen many wonderful stars but she is undoubtedly the greatest player ever to adorn the game.