The beaches of Mayo won’t hold a candle to Bondi Beach on Christmas day as Cora Staunton prepares to spend the festive season in the Australian heat, writes Stephen Barry.
Ahead of her four-month move to the Women’s AFL, the Mayo legend’s dedication to her club paid off even more, as Carnacon claimed their 16th Connacht Club title this weekend with a replay win over Galway’s Kilkerrin-Clonberne.
Their captain lobbed a late equalising free to the net before Amy Dowling struck a winner for a 4-10 to 2-13 win – a week after Staunton scored 4-13 but failed to come away with the silverware in a 5-17 to 6-14 draw.
Staunton will see out the All-Ireland series with her club, as she chases a sixth national club title, before making the move Down Under.
“I’ve been playing with them since I was around 10 years of age. They mean everything to me,” said Staunton of the feeling of playing with her club.
On the impending move to Australia, arriving after Mayo’s All-Ireland heartbreak, she told Jerome Quinn: “You don’t think these things at the start of the year.
“It’s been a rollercoaster 11 months. I’m just hoping the body will hold up for another couple of weeks with the club and a couple of months out in Australia, and I’ll see how I am when it comes to April time (to decide whether to go back with Mayo in 2018).
“It’ll be a different type of Christmas. It’ll be Christmas by the beach this time, with my brother, his wife and the two kids. I’m looking forward to it but it’ll be the life of a professional athlete.
“The main thing is I’m hoping the body will hold up for the four months I’m out there and I can pick up the skills of the game. It’s going to be difficult but it’s a challenge that I’m looking forward to and relishing.”