I started playing for Cuala in the academy. At this time, girls and boys were mixed. When it came to the mini all Ireland all it took was one look from the lads and I’d walk myself to the goal posts so that I wouldn’t get in the way of the young boys’ sensational ball work.
This would always leave me slightly perplexed as they would throw themselves on the ground in a valiant tackle a few metres from the oncoming player leaving me exposed and absolutely terrified. All in all, I have nothing but thanks for those games as I now play goalkeeper in both codes.
At 13, having completely bottled our 2012 Camogie Feile, I was sent out to trial for Dublin. Many girls I was in school with from various clubs also showed up.
When the final cut was made texts came flying in wondering who had made it and who had not. I broke down in tears when I heard nothing asking my mother ‘what on earth do I do now that Féile is over and I haven’t made Dublin. Is this the end of the road??’.
Luckily my mother checked her phone and I had in fact made it I was just being completely uncharacteristically over-dramatic.
In hindsight, I laugh at my naivety due to all the opportunities my involvement with Cuala has brought me. Aside from the copious amounts of fond memories I have of winning, losing, training and all there is between I have made life-long friends and always felt that Cuala will support me in whatever capacity it can afford.
This was abundantly evident when I was awarded the Amgen bursary on the grounds of my science related academia and my commitment to Cuala. This aided me in funding my travel to training and games, conducting my final year research in the late evenings and weekends and also availing of college amenities making the late night library sessions that bit easier, and all without having the additional stress of a part-time job.
All of these in conjunction meant that when I showed up to play, I could truly relax and enjoy Cuala as an energy release. For that reason I am extremely grateful to Amgen for their unstinting sponsorship and continuous support.
At 13 I couldn’t have envisaged all of the opportunities Cuala would award me over the following 9 years. I am so thankful that my mother hauled me to all my trainings and matches at 14 be it kicking and screaming, and all the lifts she gave me at 16 as I slept in the seat next to her after extremely important social events the night before.
I am very proud to be part of the Women’s Section that Cuala has established in the last few years. Major credit is owed to all the Coaches and Committee members that work tirelessly to ensure we continue to build year on year and that there is a solid platform in place to keep young girls interested and playing, even after the sacred Féile.