Ruth O’Mahony

Ruth O’Mahony was a journalist for the Cork Examiner for 37 years working mainly as a Sports Journalist and writing The Woman’s Page in the Evening Echo.

Beginning her hockey in Miss O’s (Miss O’Sullivans School) on the Mall, Cork City, Ruth enjoyed playing anywhere on the front line. School matches were played at the old pitches of Belvedere Hockey Club on Convent Road.

After leaving school, Ruth went to UCC to study French and English and played on the successful UCC team 1953-1956. For the 1954/55 season she remembers UCC being the first club in the South deciding to get rid of the black stockings they used to wear and swop them for proper sports socks. She also represented Munster over 12 seasons.

After college, Ruth spent a year working in London and played with Chiswick Ladies and remembers the beautifully manicured hockey fields (cricket pitches). On her return with no job and a keen interest in photography, Ruth found a job in the family business at the Cork Examiner and learnt her trade as a photographer. Being a professional photographer however was not very family friendly so Ruth took up a vacancy reporting minority sports such as Hockey, Golf and Tennis. Ruth was the first female sports journalist with the paper. Her mentor, Vera McWeeney (nee Mahony) wrote for the Irish Times and also played for Ireland in the 1940s. They would meet on the sidelines at matches and exchange notes.

The IFWHA Conference in Cologne in 1967 was the first international tournament covered by Ruth and she also remembers trips to the 1986 World Cup in Amstelveen, Holland and in 1989 Ruth went to the Intercontinental Cup in New Delhi and the Indira Ghandi Gold Cup in Lucknow. Accompanied by Rita Brosnan and Evelyn O’Flynn, ILHU officers at the time, and George Tracey who was the Irish coach, Ruth has unique memories of this trip. When the tea was brought to the press room to the journalists, Ruth was often ignored, being one of the few women there and wearing her shorts in the heat of Lucknow was frowned upon.

Ruth reported on schools and club hockey in Munster for many years, there was no shortage of coverage.

When asked who were the stand out players during her time reporting on the game she mentions Joan O’Reilly, Joan Priestman (nee Horne), the Hopkins sisters who were great athletes, Maeve Kyle (nee Shankey), Irene Johnston (nee Cahill) and Colette McAllister.

Retired since 1995, Ruth enjoys golf and is a member of Cork Golf Club, and plays with the Island Birds once a month. She learnt her golf from another hockey player, Frances Dwyer (nee Daly), who captained Ireland in the 1930s. Ruth is also a keen Bridge player.

Thanks to Ruth coverage of Irish hockey was in safe hands for many years and one of her legacies is the great record she has left through the many articles she wrote about the game at provincial and national level.