Division Four Player of the Year – Riona Cunningham

What a year 2019 has been for Clonmore Naomh Labhaoise’s Riona Cunningham. She was not only a major cog in the machine that gained Division Four league triumph and a great championship run, but she was also part of the Naomh Mhuire, An Port Mor Camogie team that captured Intermediate Championship glory earlier this summer.

Along with the trophies and winning medals collected this season, Cunningham, who turns 18 this week, also picked up the Division Four Player of the Year award as well as being presented with an All-Star in the Junior Championship team of the year, one of three Clonmore Naomh Labhaoise representatives on the team.

“An All-Star is such a big thing all throughout Ireland and knowing that you yourself have achieved something that the like of Diarmuid Connolly has and even female winners like Caroline O’Hanlon, you just feel you’re going the right places and you can do something in the future maybe”.

The Player of the Year was a fantastic way to end the season for Cunningham, personally and for her club, “It means everything, especially finishing the year winning the league and going up and then getting to the final, although we were beat it means everything to do so well this year. On a personal note, it’s finishing your year on a real high”.

Clonmore Naomh Labhaoise certainly enjoyed a successful 2019, as they dominated the Division Four league, gaining the maximum points available, winning all 12 of their league games. They also made it to the Junior Championship Final, where they just fell short against a superior Clan na Gael side, still, one loss in a season is pretty impressive.

They are certainly an up and coming team and youth was perhaps their downfall in the Championship Final this season, “I think our big thing was, we are a very young team. In our team, we only had about three players that weren’t playing minor; we’d only three players that were older and were actually seniors. I think next year we’re a year older and a year wiser”.  

With the 2019 season drawing to a close attention will swiftly turn towards 2020. Division Three will consist of much bigger tests than what Clonmore experienced throughout this year’s league campaign and they will once again target a successful run in the Junior Championship, where they can set their sights on Championship glory.

“I feel definitely for next year, we’re going to make a real mark in Division Three and I do feel we could finally win, third time lucky in that Junior Championship. I know there are teams to be reckoned with, the likes of Tir na nOg, but we’re a team to watch”.