The Wexford star won four All-Ireland titles in her career
Do elite-level players ever get used to retirement?
Us ordinary folk will never know, but just weeks after deciding to step away from the inter-county game with Wexford, Ursula Jacob seems content.
Speaking to us on a sunny afternoon in Bray, a relaxed Jacob admitted while it’s fine right now it may not hit her until the Championship begins. "I’m back with the club so I'm not sitting idle but it will be strange when I see Wexford play in the summer".
The four-time All-Ireland winner may only be 30 but has played inter-county since the age of 14 when, believe it or not she made her debut as a goalkeeper. "That’s 16 years playing inter county camogie, along with schools, along with colleges and maybe the demand was getting too much. Maybe there is more in me for inter-county but I believe the time was right”.
Let's not confuse the Oulart-The Ballagh star's contentment with the decision itself being an easy one – she says it took some time to make. "It wasn’t one I took lightly. When we got knocked out in the All-Ireland semi-final, that was initially when I thought about it".
After a run to the All-Ireland club semi she took some time and admits thinking before confirming her course of action. Telling her parents was the hardest part, admitting she felt she was "letting them down" but that weight was lifted off her shoulders once Wexford management were informed.
Keep in mind her dad Mick is a former All-Star winner himself, her brothers both played for Wexford as did her sister who went on to manage the count. Her mother, also a former inter-county forward, was a driving force in a maternal and teaching capacity in the local school where the hurling obsession was nurtured.
Front garden games with her brothers, and sister Helena, along with neighbour and Wexford stalwart Keith Rossiter honed her skills. "I know it’s a bit cheesy but we genuinely did have mini All-Ireland finals". Her parents' encouragement to enjoy, rather than win, was a major factor in Jacobs ability to quell nerves ahead of big games over the years.
Ursula spoke to Newstalk's Rewind podcast about how camogie is covered in the media and how the association can improve the situation themselves. She also spoke about how sport involving women is covered and the possibility of a management position in the future.