'It'd be one of the proudest moments ever in my life'

Aghada captain Emma Farmer looks ahead to Saturday’s All-Ireland junior club final against Corduff 

By Emma Duffy 

IT’S BEEN A year to remember for east Cork side Aghada.

2017 brought the Ladies footballers’ first county championship title as they won out the junior grade. A piece of history written, a huge goal achieved.

From there, it was bonus territory. A strong Munster campaign saw them reach the provincial decider where they saw off Kerry’s Finuge/St Senan’s by eight points.

They’d never have dreamed it, captain Emma Farmer agrees, casting her mind back through the journey.

A semi-final win over Tuam/Cortoon has Aghada preparing for the All-Ireland junior club final against Monaghan champions Corduff on Saturday.

“First county, first Munster and fingers crossed now, first All-Ireland,” Farmer grins at the launch in Croke Park on Wednesday. “We won’t get too ahead of ourselves though.

“But it is fantastic for the club, it’s a great achievement. No one knows where Aghada is so now this year, they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, that team from east Cork’ because they find it hard to pronounce the name!

“But no, we’re getting our name out there which is good. It’s good for the young ones as well coming through.”

She’s beaming from ear-to-ear. The excitement is building for the big day, and she speaks glowingly of this special group of players.

“We’re very tight,” Farmer continues.

“This last year, we even got tighter I’d say. The younger ones came of age, let’s say.

“We all committed to the year and little did we know back in January that we’d be sitting here today going into a junior All-Ireland final. It’s brilliant.”

Farmer has been involved with the Cork inter-county set-up in the past, last donning the red jersey in 2016. She certainly has no lack of silverware to show for that.

She’s played college football with Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and had success on that front too, but this is different. There’s something special about the club.

“It’s top of all of it,” she says, when asked where captaining her club to an All-Ireland final lies in comparison.

“You’re growing up with these girls all your life, you’re playing football with them and they’re your best friends.

“To go into an All-Ireland final with your best friend alongside you, it’s special. It could never happen again, ever. You just have to cherish the moment really.”

Aghada captain Emma Farmer (left) with Corduff skipper Laura McEnaney.

Off the field, Farmer is a teacher in St Mary’s High School in Midleton. ‘Just in the road from Aghada,’ she adds.

Interestingly, a lot of her clubmates go to school there too so she teaches them on a day-to-day basis.

“I suppose you just have to separate on and off (the field). In school, I’m their teacher. Outside, I’m their friend.”

With three Cork teams in the All-Ireland club finals across three grades — Kinsale and Mourneabbey contest the intermediate and senior deciders on Sunday — Farmer agrees that it’s no mean feat.

In 2003, there was a clean sweep for Cork clubs at national level and in a year which the Cork senior team failed to reach the All-Ireland final in Croke Park, the extra time has benefitted the club scene.

“Football is strong in Cork and it will always be strong in Cork as well,” she says.

“The underage is brilliant coming up through. With Mourneabbey, Kinsale and ourselves, the future hopefully is bring for Cork.”

In terms of opposition on Sunday, it’s Monaghan and Ulster kingpins Corduff.

They know very little of them, Farmer notes, but they’re relishing the challenge. They’re focusing on themselves rather than their opponents, and looking forward to the task at hand.

The whole parish is behind them, she smiles. And to lift that cup, to make it a first All-Ireland title to add to their first Cork and Munster crowns, what would it mean?

“Icing on the cake. It would be unbelievable. Absolutely something special. It’d be one of the proudest moments ever in my life.”


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