Laois ladies footballer Laura Nerney is getting ready for her second All-Ireland club football final with Dublin side Foxrock-Cabinteely.
Nerney, who plies her trade at either wing-back or midfield position for Laois, joined the Dublin side in 2015 while studying medicine in UCD.
Fox-Cab are now facing into their first All-Ireland senior final appearance since 2016 after recently completing an astounding Dublin and Leinster four-in-a-row.
The 2016 Laois Ladies player of the year is now a rotating as a doctor in the A&E in Midlands Regional Hospital, Tullamore, and is a firm advocate in exercising and playing sports, no matter how hectic her career might be.
“I couldn’t see myself not doing what I do. There may be some evenings when I’m driving up from Tullamore to Dublin and I’m feeling tired but at the end of the day everyone has job commitments.
“Once you dive right into the warm-up and you see your teammates and friends giving it 100 percent and being so passionate it really drives you on.
“After training you nearly have more energy. You can zone out from work pressures and just go out and play,” said Laura.
The Portlaoise native says that playing sport also helps her to connect with her patients in different wards.
“Children could come in with different injuries like maybe they break their arm for example.
“You might be able to tell them how you got on with an injury they have and relate to your patients more,” said Laura.
She also emphasised the importance of having a good working relationship with managers who understand her work commitments and putting in the effort wherever possible.
Of course, footballing greatness runs in Laura’s blood. Her father Brian played for both Laois and Leinster and was part of the league winning team in 1986 and played in the Leinster finals of 1981 and 1985.
Laura’s brother Stuart won numerous championships with Portlaoise in football.
First cousin Shane Nerney has made a serious impression in the Laois senior football setup, and was a key defender in the O’Dempsey’s side that reached the Laois senior club final for the first time in 35 years this October.
Cousins Jimmy and JP line out for The Heath senior footballers, while their sister Mo is a serious sharp shooter for Timahoe ladies.
It’s not just football that the Nerney bloodline has excelled in. Laois camogie star Sarah-Anne Fitzgerald is another first cousin of Laura showing her sporting excellence.
Laura’s Fox-Cab side ended up seeing off Laois side Sarsfields on a high scoreline in the Leinster final this November.
Fox Cab can boast a range of high-profile intercounty players including Dublin’s Sinead ‘Goldie’ Goldrick, Tarah O’Sullivan, Niamh Collins, Amy Connolly, Hannah O’Neill and Emma McDonagh along with Wicklow’s Lorna Fusciardi and Laurie Ahern.
However, their All-Ireland semi-final clash with Monaghan’s Donaghmoyne was a sticky assignment.
Losing by three points in injury time, Pat Ring’s side required a late Roisin McGovern goal to edge them one point over the line and into the All-Ireland final.
That semi-final might be the ideal battle to set them up for the final, where they’ve experienced heartbreak before.
While the Dublin champions have been hurt once in an All-Ireland final, their opponents Mourneabbey have suffered defeat in three All-Ireland deciders.
“I think in the 2016 final we were a bit taken aback by the occasion. We under-performed and were cramping up towards the end – we didn’t play our best,” said Laura.
The sides have gotten to know each other well over the years, with Mourneabbey putting a stopper in Fox-Cab’s 2017 All-Ireland dreams after extra-time in the semi-final.
The Cork side then bowed out to Mayo side Carnacon in the All-Ireland final last December.
Laura reckons the game this Saturday will be another tight affair.
“I think it will definitely be a one or two point game. Neither side are going to walk away having won easily.”
Foxrock-Cabinteely take on Mourneabbey of Cork in the senior club All-Ireland final in Parnell Park on Saturday, December 8 at 5.15pm.