It’s a year which could scarcely have gone better for Eimear Scally, and it’s not even finished yet.
She is the recipient of the monthly Rebel Óg award for October, but it says much that she described this as her “off-season” despite having started the varsity season with UCC and still having minor championship commitments with Éire Óg.
Throw in All-Ireland success at senior and minor level, the latter as captain, as well a successful Leaving Certificate which gained her a place in the arts course in UCC, and it’s easy to wonder where she gets the time.
Scally herself puts a lot of it down to a high level of pastoral care by those in charge of the teams she was on.
“I had John Cleary as a coach with the minors and Eamon Ryan with the seniors, they did a good bit of talking. There were two other girls on both panels too, Emer Meaney and Kate Leneghan, and we were all well looked after.
“We stuck with the minors for most of the year and then went with the seniors but, in fairness, there was never any conflict. It was player welfare they were thinking about all the time. Nobody remembers you when you’re injured, so they made sure that we were all training well and not overwhelmed with the workload.”
With the season in red and white over, the red and black of UCC is taking prominence as they prepare for the O’Connor Cup, but the red and yellow of Éire Óg is still demanding some of her time. “The college season’s after starting up, so it’s all go!” she laughs.
“We’re still in the minor championship with the club too, so all going well we’ll be kept occupied for another two or three weeks.
“Shane Ronayne is in charge of UCC. He’s a selector with the Cork seniors and he was with the Cork U16s when I played too, so there’s a good understanding.”
As a senior county star, one might expect that she comes in for extra attention when playing minor with the club, but she rebuts the assumption.
“I wouldn’t say that,” she says.
“We have a very strong minor team and a lot of girls are able to step up. We’re not just depending on one player.
“I’d have to put in a shift, but I wouldn’t feel under extra pressure.”
It seems to show in her game and more awards are a certainty, but they’re not her main aim. “I go out to play the football and functions like this are an added bonus,” she says. “I really appreciate the people that put in the work for awards schemes like this.”
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