The Kilkenny team celebrate with the O’ Duffy Cup
In the build up to Sunday’s All-Ireland final, Kilkenny captain Aoife Prendergast spoke about planning to push for a starting spot on the team and making an impact.
While the Dicksboro star didn’t achieve the first aim, the second one certainly went her way as she emerged from the bench to play a big role in the win.
The 25-year-old became the second player from Dicksboro to captain the Cats to All-Ireland success after Lucinda Gahan did similar after defeating Galway in 2020.
Prendergast spoke about how she dreamt of lifting the cup and how it became a reality.
“It was an unbelievable feeling going up to get the cup,” she said.
“As Brian (Dowling) said it’s a special bunch of players and a special management team in that dressing-room. To be the one to climb the Hogan Stand and receive the cup in front of all those supporters is something I’ve dreamt of forever and I wasn’t sure if it would ever happen or not and I’m just grateful to be the one to do it.”
Prendergast also went through the process in the team as Ashling Thompson threatened to send the game to a replay.
“At the end of the game you just have to hope for the best and as Brian Dowling said you need a bit of luck too. We kept the pressure on and it’s a great group of girls that don’t give up until the final whistle so even a bit of pressure in Ashling’s Thompson’s eyeline may have worked and that’s what we done.
“Thankfully it was enough to get us over the line in the end.”
Kilkenny may have only used two subs on the day but both of them had a huge impact and nobody will be forgetting Sophie O’Dwyer’s name anytime soon as the James Stephens star pounced to net the crucial goal.
O’Dwyer took the decision to drop herself from the Kilkenny intermediate squad in the hope of making a mark with the senior team and her inner belief certainly worked out in the end.
“It’s absolutely amazing and it’s one of the best feelings ever, I’m absolutely delighted,” she said.
“It’s very special as we get the chance to celebrate with our friends and family.
“We knew that our backs were going to be against the wall at different stages of the match but the sheer workrate of everyone gave us a chance of getting over the line and thankfully all the girls were fantastic.
“The goal was a rebound and if I missed it I would have been in trouble so I’ll take it,” a delighted O’Dwyer said.
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