By Damian Dolan
London’s Ladies face Fermanagh on Sunday (Lannleire, Dunleer, Co Louth 12pm) for a place in the All Ireland Junior Football Championship final, and Lisa Cafferky is urging her teammates not to let the chance to run out at Croke Park pass them by.
The London sharpshooter was just 17 when she played in an All Ireland final for her native Mayo in 2007, but Cork came out on top that day and Cafferky never again graced an All Ireland final stage.
A first half substitute, Cafferky forced a ‘spectacular save’ from Cork goalkeeper Elaine Harte with four minutes to go to prevent what ‘could have been the beginning of a late Mayo come back’, as the Rebelettes went on to make it three-in-a-row.
All Ireland semi-finals and quarter-finals came and went during her seven years on the panel, but no finals.
But now just 60 minutes separates Cafferky and the rest of Tommie Donohue’s charges from London’s first All Ireland final appearance since 2008.
It would be only the county’s third-ever final appearance, with the first coming in 1993 when Donohue was also in charge.
For Cafferky, in her first season with London, it’s a golden opportunity which the Exiles must seize.
“It’s something you don’t appreciate at the time, but All Ireland finals don’t come around too easily,” said Cafferky. “You really need to seize the opportunity when it does.
“This is a once in a lifetime chance to reach Croke Park, and you don’t want to miss out on that. That’s the message I’ll be giving to the other girls.”
Although in her first foray with London, Cafferky has been in the capital since 2013, preferring instead to travel back to Mayo to play for her hometown club Kilmovee Shamrocks.
“My club would be quite a small one and I found it hard to leave them, but reality eventually hit that I wasn’t training on a weekly basis.
“I was doing my own bits and pieces but nothing compares to the buzz you get from training competitively with likeminded players,” she said.
“Since joining up with London I’m really enjoying it. My role is slightly different to what it was back home, and I’ve just been given the freedom to express myself on the pitch and I’m really benefiting from that.”