Teams represented: Fermanagh Ladies/Castlebar Mitchels
Occupation: Contracts Manager
Hobbies: Football, Camogie, Tag Rugby
Any big memories from teenage years?
Playing Camogie in Feile Competitions in Waterford and Wexford, listening to Mmm Bop (Hanson) on repeat the whole way down and back!
Scoring 1:2 playing full forward in my first ever football match at 18!! I was a late starter to this football business & it was the first and last time I was played in full forward.
Any challenges you’ve faced?
As an individual I’m lucky that (touch wood) I haven’t had any career ending injuries, but I guess every year you get older and wonder if you are ready for the challenge of county again. You question if you are good enough to play and contest against girls 10 years younger than you. But hard work, determination and the desire to win the ultimate prize makes you go for that ‘one more year.’ As a sportsperson I guess, like anyone into sports, you question your ability and this can be hard. I am hard on myself and anyone who knows me well knows that I am a deep thinker. I analyze everything about a game and especially my own performance. I have tried to keep this to just the day of the match. The next morning is a new day and a time to fix anything I feel I did wrong.
Who influenced you growing up?
My mum and dad. My dad had a very bad accident & resultant spinal injury when I was 6 months old. Despite being told he would never walk again, he battled through all the odds and to the dismay of doctors, taught himself how to walk again. At one stage he couldn’t put on his own socks, so instead of allowing nurses dress him, he used a wire coat-hanger to get them on! It was a long road, but he never gave up. He’s a head-strong, determined & courageous man! My mum was there for him throughout, she never let her head drop & held everything together until he was back on his feet.
What has changed through your playing career?
I think as the years go on, your mindset changes, what’s important changes, and how you see others changes too. As a young person you try hard to fit in, to be in a group because you think that’s important. But as time goes on you realize it’s not about the amount of friends you have, it’s the quality of the few you have that matters. Playing sport has always been a huge part of my life, it’s my outlet. I have met so many people over the years and across teams who I look up to, admire and have become friends with. Every one of them is different, they have their own unique qualities and that’s what makes them interesting. Teenage years can be tough, but I think surrounding yourself with like-minded people makes growing up easier. I am lucky enough to have friends within sport and those who think I am mad for the commitment I put into sport! But as they say, it takes all kinds to make the world spin!
Describe yourself as a 16 year old?
Fun loving, sporty and the ultimate messer!
Describe yourself now and how you’ve changed?
See answer above! The only one I might add to it is – straight-talker. I don’t think I have grown. I might have a ‘real job’ now and have to think about car insurance, tax, and water charges 😉 but I live life to the full, enjoy peoples company and love a good night out! I try not get too worked up about things and if something is really bothering me I head out for a run to clear the head or go to training where I can be sure that someone will do something to make me laugh!
Tell us about your journey in your playing career?
My football career started late. I only took up football at 18. I played camogie beforehand & in college. A later starter in football and in particular County Football; only taking this up when I was 27. I’ve had elation and heartbreak in my short time playing county. The stand out moments for me, both good and bad, would be in 2013 winning the Ulster Final, 2013 losing the All Ireland Semi against Tipperary, 2014 beating Waterford in the All Ireland Quarter Final & 2014 making the All Ireland Final in Croke Park. These memories bring mixed emotions and at the time they felt like the best and worst days of my life. But that’s sport and unfortunately on any given day, there has to be a winner and loser.
In terms of defining moments it would have to be 2014 v Waterford in All Ireland Quarter Final. We were losing at half time, Caroline Little had to go off with a facial injury. Half time in the changing room was filled with fear, our top scorer was injured and we were trailing. Lisa Woods, manager at the time, was a silent type, but this time she lost her cool. It was what we needed. We went out in the second half and it was our best display of football that year. Caroline couldn’t stay on the line, she wanted back on – bruised and battered! She came back onto the pitch with about 15 minutes to go, and was pivotal (as always) to our win. That day the team stood up and shouldered the responsibility together. We weren’t favorites that day, but we never like the favorites tag anyway. It was definitely one of the highlights of my time in the Fermanagh Jersey. Every year is filled with memories, but there’s always one that stands out.
Typical weekly training / game schedule:
County training twice weekly & 1 game, Club training once a week & 1 game, gym sessions twice weekly.
Favourite Manager(s), and why?:
Declan Maguire (U14 Camogie Mgr). Its a while ago, but I still remember his sessions!! The toughest manager I ever played under. Worked on the basis of ‘tough love’ but had the ability to get the very best out of every single player.
Sporting Hero: Katie Taylor
Best thing about being an intercounty player:
Playing alongside the best footballers in the county and the feeling of winning whilst wearing your county colours.
Funniest thing to ever happen:
Hard to pinpoint just one story because there’s a few characters on the team. The dance offs and sing songs on the Fermanagh bus and nights out are always a good laugh!
Favourite team mate/player:
Hardest thing about playing at county level:
The heartbreak of losing whilst representing your county is probably the toughest thing to get over as a player.
I wouldn’t really say there’s a hard part of playing county. It’s a choice you make and with that choice comes sacrifices like missed weddings, christenings, etc. It can be difficult and frustrating the lack of resources we have to play with, the constant battle for pitches and the lack of support, but this is currently being addressed and I am hopeful things should change in the coming years.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given:
Take Man, Ball and All with you (Norma Kelly, ex Cork Footballer)
Three words other people would use to describe you:
I don’t think they can be printed!! I would hope they would say dedicated, competitive & a team player.
What are you most proud of so far (on or off the field!):
Captaining the Fermanagh Ladies football team to an All Ireland Final in 2014. It didn’t go our way on the day, but I was given one piece of solid advice after it; “It takes losing one, to know what it takes to win one.”