University of Limerick captain Fiadhna Tangney will have her father cheering on from the sidelines next weekend after he recovered from a coma following a harrowing fight against Covid-19.
The 21-year-old Kerry forward, who stepped away from the Kingdom set-up last year as she prepares to go travelling this summer, won her first Yoplait O’Connor Cup in 2019.
However, since the global pandemic hit, UL were denied the opportunity to retain the title in 2020 and 2021, while Tangney was facing into a crisis on the home front.
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Two years ago, her father, Gene, spent over four months in hospital, slipping into a coma along the way.
“Like everything, we were in lockdown at that time. We weren’t meant to going two kilometres from the house and I was doing college work from home online,” said the final year Sports & Exercise Science student.
“The college were great to me, if I ever needed anything they were always there. It gave me a focus and passed the days because we couldn’t be going into the hospital to see Dad.
“We had to stay at home for the day waiting for the time to pass. It was difficult but a lot of people around Ireland were going through the same thing so I won’t be getting too emotional.
“It was a long time but thankfully Gene is here now anyway. He is getting back to normality, thank God. It was a tough time but he will be at the O’Connor Cup next weekend so that’s brilliant.”
The UL team is strong again this year, backed by some currentaccount.ie All-Ireland club winners, in the shape of Ailish Morrissey and Lynsey Noone.
The latter is a housemate of Tangney, and along with Kerry’s Hannah O’Donoghue and Siobhan Burns, they will travel to Chicago this summer to play with St Brigid’s over there.
But for now, Tangney is basking in Kilkerrin-Clonberne’s All-Ireland success. The Beaufort ace has many links with her adopted Galway club and she was in Birr for the historic victory over the three-in-a-row chasing Mourneabbey.
“This is my third year living with Lynsey now so it was mighty to see her win. They have a great team in Kilkerrin and she was never as happy in her life to get over the line,” said Tangney
“It was well-deserved. She was going up and down to training twice a week from Limerick and I am delighted for her and the team, they are a great team, a nice place to be as well.
“I was there in Gaelic Grounds in 2019 when they lost by a point and that made it sweeter for them, to get revenge. They can definitely win a few more once they all stick together. They could be on the road for a good while.
“Kilkerrin-Clonberne is kind of my adopted club. I am jumping on the bandwagon. I would be good friends with the Wards and Noones.
“Ailish Morrissey is in college with us here as well so there is a good connection down here.”
The Yoplait Ladies Higher Education Committee Championship Finals will be held at DCU on March 8/11/12, 2022. In the flagship Yoplait O’Connor Cup semi-finals, DCU Dóchas Éireann will play UCC, with holders UL up against NUIG on Friday, March 11. The Final will be played on Saturday, March 12.