Cora Staunton commits to a 23rd season of inter-county football with Mayo
27 January 2017
Dublin's Sorcha Furlong tackles Cora Staunton of Mayo ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan
by Jackie Cahill
Cora Staunton has ended speculation about her inter-county future by committing to the Mayo ladies senior football team for a 23rd season.
Staunton, 35, is due to return to training with the Mayo squad this evening (FRI) ahead of Sunday’s Lidl Division 1 National League opener against Connacht rivals Galway.
And in further good news for Mayo, other long-serving stars Yvonne Byrne and Martha Carter have also decided to play on for another season.
The trio are close off the field of play and it’s understood that two of three committed yesterday, with the third player indicating today that she is on board again.
And after losing by just a single point in last year’s TG4 All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin, the returns of ace forward Staunton, goalkeeper Byrne and versatile Carter is a massive boost to Mayo’s hopes of landing the Brendan Martin Cup for the first time since 2003.
Carter and Byrne are also due to return to training this evening but the vast majority of speculation had centred on ten-time All-Star Staunton.
The free-scoring Carnacon player made her Mayo debut in 1995 and remains one of the most feared forwards in the ladies game.
Mayo manager Frank Browne confirmed this afternoon: “They’ve been added into the Mayo 2017 WhatsApp group and all three will be training tonight.
“We tried to give them as much time as possible so that they could make the right decision for themselves. All three have indicated that they will be rejoining the panel and trying to help us win the All-Ireland in 2017.
“That’s their focus and goal now. It’s brilliant for the panel.”
Browne wasn’t surprised by the attention Staunton’s situation generated this week, as he fielded questions from the media at Wednesday’s Lidl League launch in Dublin.
And he said: “She’s one of the only female sports stars in the country that you’d know by her first name, she’s up there with the likes of Katie Taylor and Sonia O’Sullivan as one of the great athletes of our time. But Cora is such a humble person, so focused on her own game and sometimes, she doesn’t realise how good she is.
“I’m just delighted to have them and the rest of the girls in the panel will be delighted to have them back. It’s awfully important too for the girls that had already committed before that.”