By Daragh Ó Conchúir
Laura Stack is fit to burst. Not just metaphorically. Standing opposite her, it looks like she might actually explode.
It is almost too much to take in. Her eyes are wide with wonder, her face creased by an ear-to-ear grin. She laughs after almost every sentence. It’s sensory overload.
At 16, she has played in an All-Ireland final at Croke Park. Won it. Scored a goal into the bargain. And all alongside a group of women she clearly worships.
This was her first AIB All-Ireland senior club camogie title but it is Milford’s third in four seasons.
“It’s just unbelievable like, first day out for me” exclaims a beaming Stack, who has kindly stepped away briefly from the delirium. “The team is so experienced and it’s just an honour for me to play with them.”
That theme of feeling protected by the rest of the team, and of looking up to them, is common throughout the conversation.
Amazingly, when Milford annexed their first title in 2013, Stack was taking part in the half-time activities.
“We were in the little solo race, so it’s unbelievable to be actually playing and to score is the absolute icing on the cake.”
They finished third but getting to run out onto the field of dreams on what turned into an historic occasion was something she would never forget. It doesn’t have pride of place in her list of achievements anymore though.
“It’s unbelievable. I was expecting to be nervous but I was surprised I wasn’t but it’s just the other players make you feel so calm.
“I was afraid I’d be distracted when I came out on the pitch but I was okay.
“I don’t really get nerves on this team though. I was just bouncing off the players around me. They’re all so experienced, you know?
“You couldn’t really feel nervous when there’s that sort of experience in the dressing room. They’re just great role models. It’s a great experience to play with them and I can’t believe it!”
John Brudair oversaw the inculcation of the first of the new crop into the panel this year, with Stack one of around five youngsters joining the squad.
Like Brudair, she is from Drumcollogher, and while Milford is the nearest camogie club, Limerick is her county. That always leads to a few wisecracks in the dressing room, as Stack has been a regular for the Shannonsiders at underage level and is a member of the minor squad this term.
“We played Cork last weekend. We lost so it was kind of sickening to lose to the neighbours; there was a good bit of slagging.”
There won’t be any slagging this week though, particularly as her goal removed any doubt about the where the Bill & Agnes Carroll Cup would end up.
“I was always waiting and there were a couple of opportunities throughout the game. I was hoping to get one of them and luckily it went in.”
The good news for Milford supporters is that Stack has bought in completely to the culture built up by the established players.
Having enjoyed the ultimate, she wants to do so again and again.
“Hopefully this won’t be the end of it and we’ll drive on for next year. We’ll take a break and celebrate first and then we’ll get going again.”
Her teammates would approve.