Name: Ciara Lappin (nee McGinley).
Which teams did you represent?
O’Donovan Rossa, Antrim, Queen’s and Ulster.
What’s your current involvement?
I currently coach the u-10 camogie team for Rossa. My daughter plays so you don’t get to stand and watch! They are a super bunch of girls.
What was your greatest moment in the GAA?
I have loads of great memories over the years but the few that stand out are:
Captaining Antrim to win the All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championship in 2004 when we beat Tipperary.
Captaining Rossa to their first Ulster Senior Camogie title.
Winning our first Senior Antrim Championship in 2000 with Rossa. That’s was special and the real turning point for us. We did it the hard way beating Dunloy (holders) at Rossa Park in the first round and then Loughgiel in the semi-final. It was a big breakthrough and we never looked back…we celebrated every win.
What was the most surprising moment in your career?
Getting picked as the Ulster Player of the Tournament in the Gael Linn. Think we got beat in the final, mind you.
Who was the best player you ever played with?
I have played with loads of amazing and talented girls over the years but I have to shout out to my half-back line for Rossa and Antrim – Maureen Barry and Ciara Gault.
What was the best score you ever saw in a game you were involved in?
This may sound strange but it was the best score in a game as I couldn’t see the goal. We were playing Loughgiel in the Antrim Championship final at Dunloy. It was the foggiest night and I have no idea how the match even went ahead as you could hardly see two feet in front of you never mind see a ball coming at you! We were getting beat and Ann McGlue came on full-forward and I think from memory scored one or two, or possibly more, goals to win the match. We couldn’t see from the half-back line any scores so we had to wait on the ripple effect down the pitch of cheers – bit like a Mexican wave!
Which manager made the biggest impact on you and why?
I have had the pleasure of working with many great managers over the years from Sinead and Maggie when I first started at Rossa, to Bernie McNally at Queen’s (how many times can you run around the bandstand at the PEC without being sick?) but Jim Nelson made the biggest impact. Jim came in as the Antrim manager and changed how we approached the game on and off the pitch. Jim worked with other great mentors including Tommy Lismore at Antrim (who made us run backwards up Calgary!) When Jim was the manager for Rossa he changed how we approached our training and matches and prepared off the pitch. He brought in strength training and nutrition which was new to us then. He also brought in the drink bans which were maybe not as a popular. He is a legend.
What was the best piece of advice you ever received about playing?
‘S@@t or get off the pot!” – very true.
What was the best thing about playing in your era?
You make me sound old. I had an amazing camogie career and have the best memories. I made friends for life and would encourage anyone to get involved and pick up a hurl. I think I am ready to go back, camogie for mothers and others anyone?
What was the worst thing about playing your era?
When did you know it was time to call it quits?
I had two boys under two, a full time job and a husband who worked shifts. I always expected 100 percent from everyone at training and matches and I always gave 100 percent. Anything less in my eyes wasn’t good enough and I wasn’t able to give that commitment to the team so it was time to step back.
What interesting or funny story may readers not know about you or one of your former teammates?
There are so many funny stories over the years but as we say – what goes on tour stays on tour! Although there was a particular song the Rossa girls made up called ‘Tracksuits, Tracksuits, Tracksuits” – a rendition of that would see a few red faces.