"One of the best to ever do it": Staunton calls time on phenomenal career

"One of the best to ever do it": Staunton calls time on phenomenal career
Neasa Kennedy
Neasa Kennedy

Mayo star Cora Staunton has officially called time on her successful AFLW career after an outstanding 50 appearances for the GWS Giants.

Staunton was the first international player to join an AFLW side in 2017 and went on to become the club's highest all-time goal kicker and appearance record holder. Her goal kicking record of 55 listed her as second in the all-time AFLW list alongside Melbourne's Kate Hore and Carlton's Darcy Vescio and three behind Melbourne's Tayla Harris.

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Giants head of women’s football Briana Harvey praised Staunton for her contribution to the sport.

"I congratulate Cora on not only everything she has achieved in our game of Aussie Rules, but throughout her entire sporting career," Harvey told the club website.

"While not a foundation player, she has been with us through our highest highs and lowest lows and helped to build and shape the foundations and standards within our club.

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"Cora will not only leave a legacy as a successful cross-code player and leading goal scorer, but I would imagine that one of her proudest legacies she leaves us with is the establishment of the weekly Jacinda Barclay Fearless Award.

"Cora has formed life-long friendships with players and staff across her time at the club and her presence will be missed.

"On behalf of the club, I would like to thank Cora for her contribution over the past six seasons and wish her all the best in the next chapter of her life."

Former teammates of Staunton's down under joined in on the congratulations and the recognition of the athlete's remarkable achievements.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1, Staunton said: "It is (a huge decision) but one I made months ago. I suppose it has only been released to the media now by the Giants."

"I'm overwhelmed this morning because I got lots of messages from people, who didn't realise. My close family and friends knew a couple of months ago. It was a big decision but one ultimately I'm very happy with."

"When I arrived in 2017 I thought I'd be there for one year. To do six season was huge and especially at my age (is something I'm grateful for)."

"I've been lucky to be playing sport for a long time. I did 23 or 24 years with Mayo and lucky enough at 35 to play professional sport for six years. I'm involved now with Galway camogie in a role with them which I'm really enjoying, seeing the other side of sport."

The 41-year-old athlete began her intercounty career with Mayo at just 13-years-old winning a phenomenal four All Ireland titles, three National League titles and a whopping 11 All-Stars.

Staunton says she will continue playing sport, representing her club Carnacon in football.

"I'll still tip away and play with Carnacon and enjoy a little less pressure. I've been used to having a lot of pressure on me since I was 12 or 13. I'll just enjoy it as I haven't played properly with them in the last few seasons."

What an amazing career she has had and what a phenomenal athlete for old and young to look up to. No doubt she has cemented herself as one of the greatest of all time.

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