Maria Curley, Oakdale Templemore, receiving the award from Marie Hickey, Ladies Football Association President and Donal Barry, Higher Education Chairperson.
September 2017 saw Tipperary win the All Ireland intermediate ladies football final defeating Tyrone in the final, with Templemore heroine Maria Curley playing a huge part in the historic victory.
On the day she gave an excellent performance on the edge of the square, and her display of heart, committment and dedication, particularly in the second half was of such a high standard that no doubt put her high up in the rankings for player of the match.
This victory ended a great year for her and Tipperary, with Shane Ronayne's side also capturing Munster honours, as well at the National League Division 3 title.
On a brillant day for Tipperary ladies football, the premier county girls gave an outstanding display of all that is good in the game and emerged worthy and deserved winners on the scoreline 1-13 to 1-10, thus ending a fantastic year, being unbeaten in fifteen games in League and Championship.
One wondered could this great success story for Maria continue, but the first five months of 2018 have shown that it has even got better, and on this Friday evening in Croke Park she will collect her second award of the year to date, testimony to her huge contribution to the game on the field of play.
Earlier in the year she was a prominent player on the UL team that lost the O'Connor Cup final to DCU by a single point, 2-12 to 0-17, but her displays over the entire competition made her an automatic choice for the fullback position when the team of the competion was announced shortly after the final. Then on May 6th in sun drenched Parnell Park she won a National League Division 2 title, defeating Cavan. Her performances over that entire league campaign of nine games – Armagh, Laois, Tyrone, Cavan, Waterford, Sligo, Clare, Armagh (semi final), Tyrone (final) – will see her collect the prestigious award this Friday evening of the best fullback of the entire league.
This great success now enjoyed by Maria did not come about by chance, and involved her putting in huge effort, huge committment and making many sacrifices over many years to ensure she can compete at the top level of ladies football. While pursuing a very busy and demanding acedemic career at UL she always found the time to train and to prepare herself to the utmost.
On the field she displays a huge workrate and coupled with her speed, skill and fearless courage makes her an outstanding player and a most difficult opponent for any full forward.
As a young girl entering St Josephs primiary school, she was quickly introduced to ladies football and camogie, and she played a major part in the school winning a number of Tipperary Cumann na mBunscol titles. This continued when she moved to Our Lady's and in 2014 she was part of the camogie team that won the Munster and All Ireland Senior B titles for the first time. She was also on the junior team that won the Munster Colleges Junior B camogie title in 2013.
With her club Templemore she has won County U-14A, U-14B, U-15A, Minor, Junior A, Intermediate titles. However her success with Tipperary is enormous and to date she holds seven Munster medals, four All Ireland medals ( U-14 B in 2011, Minor B in 2014 and 2015, Intermediate in 2017) and two national League medals.
We in Templemore are justifyably proud of her achievements and we wish this talented and humble girl continued success in the future.