Blackhall Gaels’ Colm Whitty Meath Volunteer of the Year

2020 Meath Camogie Volunteer of the Year – Colm Whitty

Meath Camogie have tonight announced that Colm Whitty from Blackhall Gaels GAA Club has been voted their Volunteer of the Year for 2020 by the Meath County Board. 

Colm was nominated by his club for his contribution to Camogie in the club as Senior team manager, underage indoor hurling coordinator and underage coach all while being a dual player himself. 

“A normal year for Colm would include playing both football and hurling, coaching the Senior Camogie team, coaching an underage hurling team and almost singlehandedly orchestrating the indoor hurling and camogie for the children of the parish” – Blackhall Gaels

“We have no doubt Colm will be a very popular recipient of this years award and Meath Camogie are delighted to put him forward for a National award” – Meath Camogie

Questions & Answers with Kilmacud Crokes, Dublin and Melbourne’s Lauren Magee

By Robert Cox January 20th 2021

Last weekend we had the privilege here at Extra Time Sport of Lauren Magee taking over our Instagram page while on quarantine in a Brisbane hotel. We have put together a selection of YOUR QUESTIONS that Lauren thankfully went to great lengths to answer meticulously.

There is some excellent knowledge and advice below for younger players and indeed players further on in their careers.

Lauren is due to come out of quarantine along with fellow Dublin players Sinead Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy this Friday, January 22nd, when they will head to Melbourne to joint up with the Melbourne Demons AFLW team ahead of the new season.

*** Australia, AFLW & Quarantine ***

How are you keeping busy while in quarantine in Brisbane? It’s really important to get into a routine straight away here in the hotel room to help the days not feel so long. A typical day usually consists of: Bike session, yoga, skills, a walk, reading, painting, sudoku, listening to a podcast and learning Spanish (well trying too).

How long are you in Brisbane for? Only here for the remainder of quarantine (Friday 22nd) and then we fly straight to Melbourne.

Is this your first time in Australia and if so, what are you most looking forward too outside of the footy? I was in Melbourne for a short trip in March of 2020 and only got to see and do a few things so I am really looking forward to exploring more of Melbourne and seeing places like this (see photo)

Are you quarantining alone or can you mix with Sinead (Goldrick) and Niamh (Mcevoy) since you travelled with them? Unfortunately I am alone, we are are in separate rooms and don’t get to see each other.

What is quarantine like? Is it the hardest thing you have ever done? Not having any human contact or fresh air is definitely tough but keeping busy and having a routine definitely helps – I wouldn’t say it’s the toughest thing I’ve ever done but it’s something I wouldn’t like to have to do any again any time soon.

What hotel are you quarantining in? The Mercure. I really would love a hoover – they won’t give me one because of cross contamination!

What was your least favourite thought of leaving home? Not being able to see my family, especially not being there for my Mam following the loss of my Stepdad recently. I know this is something he was so excited for me to do though, as were all of my family, so I still had to pursue it.

Why did take the three of you so long to get out to Australia, did Covid affect your plans? I t wasn’t a choice really, were supposed to fly out on December the 26th or 27th but due to Covid there flight cancellations etc. So we were basically on a waiting list to get a flight into Australia. Luckily we got one, given how bad things are at home.

How did you start playing AFL? I was asked to take part in the first combine held in December last December and it was through that I got in touch with Melbourne.

What are you most looking forward to about playing AFL? I think the excitement to learn a new sport, especially in a professional setup, is definitely something I’m looking forward to. But I also can’t wait to be able to be more physical in a game and not get sin-binned for it!!

What’s the most challenging part of changing/adapting to Aussie Rules? Learning the rules of the game and adapting the oval ball.

What do you think will be the biggest challenge of playing footy in Melbourne? Definitely the heat for me, being a ginger, it will be a struggle.

What are you most looking forward to seeing once out of quarantine? Simply, just everyone in Melbourne.

How long do you plan to stay in Australia? The plan at the moment is to stay until the end of April/early May.

Are there any AFLW teams in Ireland I could play for? I would love to try the sport? You should check out AFL Womens Ireland, they will lead you in the right direction.

*** Dublin Ladies ***

When did you start playing for Dublin? I’ve been playing on Dublin underage teams since u14s and have been playing ever since thankfully.

Do you think it matters if you don’t play underage for your county? No, definitely not. Nothing is impossible. Cassie is a great example. She never played underage for Dublin and is now on the Senior squad.

What kind of training and preparation did you do on your own to get to county level? When I was younger I was always out with my Dad and friends practicing on days I wasn’t training or playing. *Tip for anyone is to get out and practice, but particularly on skills that may not be your strongest.

What would you generally eat before a big game with Dublin? It’s all about the carb load. Especially the day before the game for me. The day before would generally be like pasta or curry etc for dinner and to make up more carbs, I’d sometimes have a bowl of cocopops afterwards. Every meal for me the day before, contains carbs. The day of the game, it always depends on what time the game is at. If it’s an early one I’ll just have some porridge and fruit. Most my food for the game would be based on what I have eaten the day before.

Is playing for Dublin hard? I would be a dream come true to play for them one day. I won’t lie, it’s a big commitment to be involved in a setup like Dublin and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to play but if it’s something you love to do, which I do, it’s worth it all.There can be days that are tough, especially when you have other things going on in your personal life and you’ve to get yourself to training but it’s these times that I am lucky to have such a great bunch around me. And after the session I will always feel better.

What has been your proudest moment in a Dublin jersey? Winning the All-Ireland in late 2020 – especially after the tough year everyone had and personally after losing my Stepdad, being able to play and end the year with a win was definitely one of the best feelings ever.

What was it like playing in the games in 2020 with no supporters present? It was a bit strange for the final in Croke Park because every year for the last few years the crowd was getting bigger, so it was a weird feeling running out to nobody on All-Ireland Final day. But I think I the saddest part was not having our families there and being able to run over and hug them after the final whistle.

Best at running tests and best in the gym on the Dublin team? Nicole Owens for the running and Siobhan Woods in the gym.

You’re stranded on a desert Island, who are the three Dublin players you bring with you? For entertainment purposes, Eabha. Lucy Collins for the inspirational talks and to keep my dental hygiene in check. Muireann Ni Scanaill to get us through anything tough that would come at us. I won’t pick Sinead Goldrick or Niamh McEvoy because I have the pleasure of spending the next few months with them anyway!!

*** The Club, Advice & Memories ***

Who is your toughest opponent in club football? Definitely a toss up between Sinead Goldrick and Leah Caffrey. It’s never an easy game playing against either of them.

What’s your favourite memory playing for Kilmacud Crokes? It definitely has to be winning the Dublin Feile and getting to the All-Ireland Feile alongside girls that I had played with since Nursery. But also I am very proud of our current team making the semi final or final every year since we got promoted a few years ago – we haven’t got over the line yet but we’ll go again.

What player should we keep an eye on for the future? The little pocket rocket Caoimhe O’Connor.

Have you any advice for teenage footballers during lockdown? Get out everyday and do some sort of practice. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, just a light kick around or hand passing drill to a family member or against the wall. It’s really important to get out into the fresh air, get some exercise in and help your mind during these difficult times. Most of all, mind yourselves.

What advice would you give to younger players? To keep playing. There is such a high drop out rate in teenagers, due to making new friends in secondary school or maybe having more of a social life but I promise you will alway ls have time for your friends and for a social life outside of sport. Many of my old teammates stopped playing just as they got to secondary school or just as they were about to play Senior. Thankfully most of them have missed it after they left and have since returned to play for Kilmacud Crokes Intermediate team, which was great to see. The most important thing is to enjoy it. Don’t pressure yourself into playing if you aren’t enjoying it or if you are playing for your first team and you feel it’s too intense or serious, then maybe drop down a grade, where you can continue to play and and not be under as much pressure.

Any tips for coping with pre game nerves? The day before a big game I try to keep as busy without doing anything too strenuous. Things like meeting with friends for a walk or a coffee or when the cinema was open, I’d go there the evening before. Things to keep my mind off the game. On match day I’d always listen to music and focus on that. Nerves for me wouldn’t kick in until the changing room when the headphones are off. But it’s good to experience nerves so don’t be too worried about them. As soon as the game starts, they’ll be gone.

Top three tips for any young footballer on a senior panel? 1) Go express yourself, don’t hold back. Go and show your ability but always work hard while doing it. 2) Don’t be afraid to speak up and give your opinion on things. 3) Don’t be afraid to ask questions when there is drills or tactics that you don’t understand. You won’t be judged for this. Management and older players will appreciate your willingness to learn and get things right.

Did you always play midfield? No, I’ve played in most positions in defence too.

Would you like to see any changes in the rules of the LGFA? Like the sin-bin or physicality. I would definitely love to see the sin-binning gone. I think it takes away from the game, whether it be your team or the other team that receives one. I also think that the way the game has progressed and is going with teams having S&C coaches, that teams are a lot stronger. So I think more physicality should be allowed.

Best memory in football? Finding my Dad and giving him a massive hug after the 2017 All-Ireland final victory.

How much of an influence was your Dad on your early career? My Dad Johnny Magee is definitely the biggest influence on my career. Watching him and my uncle Darren Magee play for Dublin made me fall in love with the game from a very young age. Dad has done so much for me over the years to allow me to play football. For example I was in the Gaeltacht in Galway one year but had the All Ireland Feile in Mallow in Cork. Dad drove from Dublin to Galway to collect me, brought me all the way to Cork, helped manage our team, drove me back to Galway, before driving back home to Dublin himself. Parents don’t get enough recognition for what they do to enable their kids play a sport. Like the lifts all over the county or country and waiting during training, sometimes for hours before bringing them home.

Blackhall Gaels player Leah Hartigan making waves in the Women’s National League

By Robert Cox January 15th, 2021

Blackhall Gaels Gaa player Leah Hartigan has signed for the u19 WNL team at DLR Waves in Dun Laoghaire.

Leah, who plays in defence, has previously played for the club’s u17s and last season trained with the 1st team squad while also working alongside the coaching team.

Leah in action.

The club took to their Twitter page to welcome Leah back for 2021.

Best wishes to Leah and all at DLR Waves for the coming season.

Leah Hartigan in action for Blackhall Gaels in 2018.

John Mulligan the new man at the helm of Parnells LGFA

By Robert Cox January 15th, 2021

John Mulligan has taken over as manager of the Parnells Ladies Football team in Dublin for the 2021 season.

Cappagh Gaa man Mulligan was ratified as the new manager of the Coolock based club on Wednesday night.

Parnells currently play in Division 1 of the Senior Football League and in the Intermediate Championship.

They are very progressive club, with fantastic facilities, who under normal circumstances would field two teams, but due to Covid, they only fielded one team in 2020, with that also likely to be the case for 2021.

Mulligan who has trained numerous LGFA teams in the past, including Kilcock, Cappagh, Celbridge and Boardsmill, will be joined on the management team by his Dad John Snr (selector) and Gavin Mcdowell (S&C coach).

He also has some unfinished business with his home club, having managed their men’s reserve team to a Championship Final and a League Semi Final in 2020 (hopefully to be played in early 2021), and he hopes to help them claim the two titles should they be played.

For now, the massive Mayo Gaa supporter, is just looking forward to getting going with his new club; “I’m really looking forward to coaching in Parnells Gaa Club, they are a club with a big history, the Ladies team have a great set up with big panel numbers. They also have great players coming through from underage system.

For me it was a no brainer to get involved. Coaching in Dublin will be a new one for me and it’s a challenge I’m really looking forward too.

North Kildare’s Fionnuala O’Malley wins December Volunteer of the Month

Leinster Hockey

By Robert Cox, January 15th, 2021

Leinster Hockey have this week announced that Fionnuala OMalley from the North Kildare Hockey Club will receive the December 2020 Volunteer of the Month Award.

A member of North Kildare HC for many years, Fionnuala is the driving force behind the youth section of the club and for over a decade has given up her weekends to organise coaches and activites for the growing junior section (now numbering over 200) from tiny tots to Under 16s.  Not content with that, Fionnuala also organises safety seminars, Covid 19 planning, coach development workshops, blitz events, fundraising and is a dab hand at baking cakes and teas as well!

Liz Hassett (North Kildare Secretary) added “our club would be lost without her organisation and dedication and Fionnuala’s contributions to the success of the club are immeasurable” while Junior Coach Daniel McSweeney that he had never known anyone to “work so hard and selflessly for a club”.

Leinster Hockey Chair, Trevor Watkins, congratulated Fionnuala on her award and thanked her for her work both within North Kildare HC and the Kildare region.

The nominations received by the Committee recognise volunteers in all areas of our sport – coaches, umpires, administrators, Children’s Officers, Covid Officers, committee members, fundraisers, social media secretaries – all of whom play a hugely important function within their clubs.  Development Director, Fiona Walshe, thanked everyone for their submissions and in particular thanked all volunteers for “their tireless work” adding that “our success as a sport is attributed to their willingness and passion to see hockey grow and reach as many people as possible”.

2021 Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cups cancelled

By Robert Cox, January 13th, 2021

The GAA has confirmed that there will be no Third Level competitions in this academic year.

The decision was expected with the current Covid restrictions seeing the window that the competitions were due to be played in lost.

Both competitions were scheduled to take place before intercounty action resumed at the end of February.

DCU claimed the Sigerson title in January with UCC winning the Fitzgibbon Cup final on 12 February.