Summerhill Ladies Football Club today announced their Players of the Year recipients for 2020.
The highly progressive South Meath Club took to their Social Media pages to announce the winners; “Due to Covid-19, we cannot have our traditional awards ceremony, but that does not mean we will not recognise our amazingly talented players, therefore, we are delighted to announce our players of the year for 2020”
SENIOR PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Mary-Kate Lynch
YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Aisling McCabe
UNDERAGE LAOCH NA BLIANA: Sophia Farrell
“This special award began last year to recognise a player’s attitude, commitment and team spirit”
Congratulations to all three winners Mary-Kate Lynch, Aisling McCabe and Sophia Farrell on their achievement and best of luck to all at Summerhill LGFA for the 2021 season.
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.
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.
Blackhall Gaels underage player Isabel Lambert has today won her section of the Meath ‘100 touch skills challenge’ at the Royal County’s Centre of Excellence in Dunganny.
Isabel, who was representing her school St.Oliver’s National School Kilcloon, won through after beating some of the best boys and girls from all over the county on Saturday morning.
She will now go on to represent the school in the ‘Grand Final’ which will be played at half time of one of Meath’s home league matches in 2021.
Isabel’s achievement is all the more remarkable given the fact that 95% boys won their school’s interior skills competitions, leading to very few girls being in attendance in Dunganny this morning. She beat all the boys and girls in 6th class Kilcloon to qualify for the finals in Dunganny.
At the time of going to post we believe that Isabel is the first female winner and she will join six more winners for a chance to take the overall Royal Crown in 2021.
Isabel’s achievements and skill come as no surprise to us here at Extra Time Sport as we have seen first hand how hard shes works along with her sister Ava under the guidance of their dad David and the other trainers week in week out at Blackhall Gaels and we would like to wish her all the best in the final. 💙💛
First and foremost Claire, congratulations to you and Brian on your marriage.You looked wonderful on the day and I’d like to wish you a long and happy future together. How did you and Brian meet? Was it love at first sight?
C.O’S: “Thanks Robert, I really appreciate that and thank you for all your coverage of the LGFA. How did we meet? *laughs* It’s nothing mad to be honest. I went down to watch the Carbury lads playing a game one day with my friend. And this lad that I hadn’t seen before ran by me and the first thing I noticed were his legs! I commented to my friend that those were a nice pair of legs and asked her who they belonged too. That was it, I pursued him after that and ten years later here we are, the rest is history. You could say it was love at first sight, with his legs”
Robert ETS: With all that has gone in 2020 with Covid and the lockdowns it brought, did you ever consider pushing your wedding day out to 2021 or 22?
C.O’S: “No, we always kept our date. We weren’t going to have a big wedding anyway, we were always going to try our numbers relatively small. We both have big families and both play football so that was always going to be tough. We were at about 140 in terms of guests. But we never wanted to lose sight of why we wanted to get married in the first place. We decided to keep the date and plough ahead with it with regardless of what was happening. Logistically it didn’t make sense for us to try and change things around, with football and everything. We took everything in our stride and kept our original date of October 30th, as it turns out it fell on the same weekend as a big Championship game for me anyway”
Robert ETS: Did you have to make many sacrifices for your dream day to happen?
C.O’S: “To be honest we are two very chilled people. Our lives kind of revolve around football. We picked the 30th of October two years ago because we felt it was the safest day in terms of football. The County Finals in both men’s and ladies football are usually wrapped up by then. We worked everything around that but we didn’t factor in a world pandemic to come about. We just took everything in our stride, we are very relaxed. Neither of us are into making a big fuss about anything. We never once thought, oh our wedding is ruined now. You can get lost in the hustle and bustle of it all but we honestly didn’t want to lose sight why we wanted to get married in the first place. We just wanted to have a nice day with our families, have a nice meal and have a bit of craic and that’s what we did so it worked out perfectly for us”
Robert ETS: Getting married during lockdown must have brought its own challenges, did you get to have the 25 guests with you on the day and how did the venue accommodate you?
C.O’S: “Yeah we were able to have the 25 guests and ourselves so there was 27 of us in total. It was basically just our immediate families and their partners. It was really, really nice. Very intimate. We had it in Rathsallagh House, Wicklow. It’s amazing, it’s a gorgeous place. I’d highly recommend it to anyone planning to get married in the future. The staff were so helpful, not just in the day but in the build up too, evem before Covid came about. They really put us at ease and they followed every guideline. Joe, the owner, was on the phone to us weekly with updates. This is not an easy time for hotels, they were in the dark as much as we were but they came up trumps and I can not speak highly enough of them. We were lucky enough to get a beautiful day weather wise for the wedding and with Rathsallagh been so picturesque, we got some lovely photos around the grounds”
Robert ETS: It’s 2020, anything can happen. Did the build up and everything go to plan with the wedding or do you have any funny stories to tell us?
C.O’S: “Thankfully everything went to plan and their were no funny incidents on the day. I’m not a big drinker myself and on the Thursday before the wedding, I flew into Tesco to pick up a few bits for breakfast. Brian rang me while I was ye there and asked me would I pick him up a box of Heineken for that evening. So I obliged, I literally only brought my card in and when I got up to the checkout they asked me for ID. That was funny, I then had to go all the way back out to my car in the rain and get my drivers licence. Thankfully that’s the only funny thing that happened to me in the build up and as I said the day itself went smoothly”
Robert ETS: Because of lockdown and restrictions, did you have to omit anything that you would have liked to include in the build up or on your specialday?
C.O’S: “We didn’t really have to leave anything out. Obviously the whole hair and makeup situation and not been allowed to have anyone to do that was a bit awkward. But I was training on the Wednesday night the week before the wedding and I had a few missed calls from my hairdresser. She was a bit panicked as she had to tell me she wasn’t allowed travel etc. I just got into my car after doing a full training session and I thought you know what, it’s fine. I’m not the worst at doing my own hair so to be honest, it all worked out. There was a few little things like that but other than that it was perfect”
Robert ETS: Had you a honeymoon planned and how has Covid and the restrictions affected those plans?
C.O’S: “We had a rough plan for a honeymoon. We kind of thought B.C (before Covid) we would do a week in Italy. We both thought that would be nice to spend a week there and see a few different places. Obviously that idea was out the window pretty quickly once Covid hit. We had other ideas but didn’t really plan anything. We have relatives and friends in San Francisco and we are big fans of them… and of course San Francisco!!We’ve two really good friends over there and they’ve had a baby recently so we thought we might get to visit them and maybe take in Vegas and Cancoon while we were at it but we had nothing booked thankfully. We’ll definitely get there at some point but we just don’t know when”
Robert ETS: Claire, your decision to play the game the same weekend as your wedding, was it a no brainer or had you any doubts?
C.O’S: “To be honest I was always going to play the game regardless of whether it was on the Saturday or the Sunday. I had been a regular at corner back. I worked hard to get my place and obviously I was one of the vice-captains this year, which is a great honor. Even before that I was always fully committed but with that extra bit of responsibility on my shoulders, I wanted to lead by example and set the tone so for me, the decision to play the game was never in doubt”
Robert ETS: Did you train on the week leading up to your wedding?
C.O’S: “The wedding was on the Friday. In fairness, I didnt train on the Wednesday. I did an extra running session on the Tuesday by myself and posted it into the player’s group just to show that I got my session in. Then I called over to team training on the Wednesday night to support the girls and to look on. Just in case I got a slap in the face or anything! Then I obviously missed the Friday but I think I had a good excuse for that one! That was it, that’s all I missed. It trained right up until full contact the week of. It was grand, one of the girls stood on my foot the previous Friday so I did have a nice green foot for the day. But these things happen, we do that a lot to each other, we are always giving each other little bumps and bruises. Neasa Dooley can vouch for that, I gave her a nice slap on the leg that same week too so she had a nice war wound also”
Robert ETS: Were you not worried abut picking up an injury at all, even in the weeks leading up to the wedding?
C.O’S: No as I said I think the girls were more worried about me picking up an injury than I was. I landed awkwardly on my wrist one of the nights about two weeks before the wedding. I had just called a kick out and as myself and one of the other girls went for the ball we clocked into eachother and fell. I fell down on my wrist and then the other girl fell down on top of me and it drove my wrist into the ground. That really, really hurt and I genuinely did think I had broken it. When that happened the collective sigh from the girls could be heard around the pitch. I think they were more stressed than I was”
Robert ETS: Football, Work, Wedding. It must have been an extremely busy few months for you?
C.O’S: “Yeah between the three and everything else it has been a busy time alright. But look you just can’t get overwhelmed by it all. You just have to take a deep breath sometimes and go with the flow. Just try and keep life as normal as possible. That’s all both of us wanted to do. I love football and I love training and thankfully with all that happened in 2020, I still have that. It was the one ray of light that we had to cling onto for the last few weeks”
Robert ETS: You’re one of the more experienced players on the current Kildare panel, when did you make your debut and can you give us a brief history of your time in white?
C.O’S: I was first on the panel when I was 18. Then I stepped away for it for a few years. This was for a number of reasons to be honest. In the main, I wasn’t really enjoying it. I would have been a lot shyer then and probably also taught I was a lot older than I was. But when I look at the girls that are in with us now that are 18, I think God they are so young. I just wouldn’t have been as confident in my football ability then either. I also felt guilty at the time about leaving the club. I remember trying to manage both trainings. I can see now that it’s just not possible. When you get a bit older and wiser you realise that the club understand and that you’re not abandoning them or anything.
I came back to the team in 2014 when John Divilly was manager. I was doing well, training was going good. We were senior then and obviously it was much tougher. My league start came out of the blue actually. It was against Down and I was wing back. It went well as I can remember but I was terrified. I was 21 and wasn’t expecting it. He never gave me a heads up, threw me in at the deep end but it was probably the best way to do it, I had no time to think about it. I guess his thinking was to just throw me in and see how I would react. Sink or swim. Thankully I swam! The more senior girls at the time, were telling me I did very well and to keep it up and I’d keep my place. Unfortunately the following Tuesday I went and played a club game and did my ankle in badly. So that was me gone for a few weeks and with it my chances of starting again for a while.
I went back in at the start of 2015. Well I trialled anyway. When I say trial, I went to one trial game. I just wasn’t really feeling it. I had doubts. Do I want to be here? Am I good enough? Do I have the confidence for this? Ultimately I only went to the one trial game and didn’t go back after that. I just knew at the time if I wasn’t fully committed to it then I didn’t want to be there so I stepped away.
It was 2017 before I came back. And since then I haven’t looked back. I’m in my 4th season in a row now. Obviously I feel I have done well and we have a great group of girls there at the minute”
Robert ETS: Kildare LGFA 2020 and the hopes for the rest of Championship?
C.O’S: As I said we’ve a great group of girls in here at the moment. We’re hoping to push on. We’re only taking it one game at a time as we have always done. We’re hopeful if we keep going and working hard, we will get our just rewards. At the moment, we aren’t looking any further than the Sligo game.
Robert ETS: Having been around Ladies football teams myself and knowing how they generous they are when it comes to one of their own celebrating a special occasion, I can only presume the girls showered you with gifts the week of the wedding?
C.O’S: “Of course. The girls are so thoughtful. They got me a lovely sketch of myself and Brian and our dog Tucker. It’s beautiful, it’s set in the backdrop of Rathsallagh. It’s by Jenny Murphy, she does a lot of LGFA sketches. We love it, she’s really good at what she does. They also got me a nice bottle of champagne, which is sitting here in my press staring at me. We’ll probably open it around Christmas or hopefully if we have something to celebrate with the football.
Robert ETS: Finally, the Clare game. How did that go and was it a bit surreal to be involved in it only two days after your wedding day?
C.O’S: “No, it was fine. I was always going to make myself available for selection. Unfortunately I didn’t start and to be honest it was harder looking on in the first half. When you’re watching on you just feel you’ve no control. That you just can’t help the girls and in the current climate it’s even harder as we (the subs) were far away in the stand and the girls could barely hear us cheering on. It was a bit strange watching and then obviously there was no supporters either. But thankfully I got on in the second half. I felt great, I wasn’t tired. I felt fresh. Basically the management team just asked me to come on and run. Just run. That’s what I like to do so that’s what I did. For me, it wasn’t a bit surreal at all. People did keep saying to me, how do you feel, how do you feel? But I was grand and was delighted to be a part of fantastic victory over Clare. I was delighted at the end of the game to get the win. I think in the video at the end you can just see me jumping up and down in some sort of a bunny hop. I was just ecstatic.
Once we got over the hurt of the league been scrapped when we were in such a good position and had qualified for the final, we just had to focus on Clare. That was our main aim. Obviously it was disappointing the way the league ended but we just had to park that and move on.
Myself and Brian are together ten years this week actually so nothing really changed you know. I felt fine. We bought our first house there three or four years ago so again, nothing really changed apart from the fact that we are now married. Our day to day life hasn’t changed. So for me to go and play a football game, it was just like any other game. The next one is always the most important.
For now I’m just looking forward to a bit of down time, it’s been a hectic time with all the planning. So I’m just going to enjoy the football for now alongside my newly married life and time with Brian”