People in Focus: Killeeshil’s Emma Mulgrew ready to ‘Stand Up’ in bid for top honours

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September 2017 is certainly a hectic month on the sporting scene in County Tyrone and for a number of ladies footballers in the county is an exceptionally busy and hugely exciting first week of the month!

Tyrone ladies qualified for the All Ireland Intermediate Championship Final with an impressive semi final triumph against Sligo and seven days later in County Club Championship Finals day in Carrickmore. Killeeshil’s Emma Mulgrew is one such player who maintains impressive progress in both club and county as her Club, Killeeshil St. Mary’s, line out in a second successive Senior Championship final and of course that winning run with Tyrone too…

Killeeshil St. Mary’s, line out in a second successive Senior Championship final

Following a brilliant display at centre-back for the Red Hand Ladies in that all Ireland semi final victory Tyrone Life caught up with Emma for another in our People in focus series and take a look at the club championship as well as the usual take on community, sport, fun and favourites…

Best wishes to Emma and all her colleague in the pursuit of that first ever all Ireland Intermediate championship title win on 24th September too!

Q&A, People in Focus profile
Emma Mulgrew, Killeeshil & Tyrone GAA

Football Honours & Achievements:

Club…

  • U14 Tyrone Feile Champions x5
  • U14 County Championship & League title x2
  • U16 County Championship & League title   
  • Minor County Championship & League title x2
  • Minor Ulster Championship Title
  • Senior Championship runners up 2016

County…

  • U14 Ulster Title
  • U16 Ulster Title
  • Minor Ulster Title & All Ireland Runners up
  • Intermediate Ulster Title x2

Hobbies & Other interests:

Coaching underage teams within the club, meeting up with friends and family

School Years: Can you tell us a bit about your school years, three big moments that stand out for you and who would have had a big influence on you in those years…

I attended St Mary’s PS, Cabragh, where we had a very successful girls football team. We won tournament after tournament under the guidance of Damien Kelly who was P.7 and Headmaster at the time. He was a great influence on us girls to continue playing football with Killeeshil club also. After this, I went on to St Ciaran’s Ballygawley. Even though we had excellent players, we never seemed to reap the rewards, often just losing out in the qualifying group stages.

Mrs Maria Curran had a great influence on us girls over the years and always pushed us on to be the best.  However looking back, we often tortured her head by ‘forgetting’ our training gear when it was bad weather or sometimes ringing ahead our Austins chippy order on the way home from games so we would have to stop! I also had Mrs. Curran for GCSE P.E & Double Award Sport at A level and have no doubt I wouldn’t have done as well as I had without her help.

St Ciaran’s Ballygawley

During my time at St Ciaran’s the school produced 2 musicals, the first being Musical Memories to celebrate the 40 years of St Ciaran’s and the other being ‘Hairspray’ which I was fortunate enough to be a part off. Being involved with something like a musical production in the school was really worthwhile as everyone, including the teachers such as Mrs McGirr and Mr Cunningham, gave up their free time to make the shows fantastic to watch and perform in.

A big influence on my time at St Ciaran’s would also have to be my mummy, who is a business studies teacher in St Ciaran’s. She was always there to look out and help me (including vouch for me for a good excuse as to why I hadn’t my work done on time). She is currently in her 35th year of teaching in St Ciaran’s. I’ll actually be back this year in St Ciaran’s working alongside her, not sure how this will work out but I’m sure she’ll be helping me along just as she did at school.

Historic firsts? 5 Killeeshil girls chasing County SFC glory as well as All Ireland IFC success with Tyrone

Teenage years: When growing up can you tell us about your three biggest memories of football in club and/or county, (i) as a spectator x 3 (ii) as a player x 3

Spectator

  • 1 Watching Tyrone win their first All Ireland in 2003
  • 2 Being a spectator for the ladies All Ireland Finals in 2010 – Result might not have gone Tyrone’s way but it was fantastic to watch club members line out in Croke Park.
  • 3 Watching the first floodlit game in Croke Park in 2007 between Tyrone and Dublin

Player:

  •   Winning an Ulster title with Tyrone minor ladies and going on to play in an All Ireland final later that year.
  • – Winning a Minor County league, Championship, and Ulster title with the Killeeshil minor ladies
  • – In our first year of senior football with Killeeshil ladies, going out against all odds and beating St Macartans in a league fixture – you’d think we won an All Ireland but to only come up from division 2 and beat one of the top division 1 teams at that time was a massive achievement and gave us such belief.

Tyrone Life – My thoughts on…

Where you came from: Tell us a bit about your community, your club and where you grew up?

I grew up in Killeeshil and I started playing for Killeeshil football club at u12 level, progressing on through over the past 13 years.  Killeeshil club is a small, close knit club and has such a strong sense of community. Killeeshil ladies were only formed in 1999 and the talent and achievements that have been seen already are phenomenal. Growing up within Killeeshil club, watching the older player’s line out every week was so exciting and, even though neither of my parents kicked a ball in their life, I couldn’t have been better supported to continue to play.

If anyone knows my Da, you’ll know that you’ll hear him before you see him! (I hear he featured greatly on TG4 last week with his Tyrone flag). My mother has very rarely missed a game and is often seen hiding in the car pretending not to know my Da.

Emma in action for Killeeshil ladies

Characters in the Community: Tell us about some of the big characters in your community/club when you were growing up and any memories, stories or ‘nicknames’ that jump out when talking about them?

There are certainly many characters in Killeeshil community that have stood out to me over the years. Two in particular who are very close to the heart is Winnie (Wild Duck) McElvogue and her brother Barney. Even though they give off on a regular basis about “ that ole football”, they’d be lost without my stories to keep them entertained.

As my mother was a secondary school teacher and in those days went back to work after a few months, myself and my siblings were basically reared in Winnies house, as she looked after us every day and after school etc. There never was a dull moment in Winnies and Barney still claims to this day my footballing days started out on their back street – along with my brother Barry and Winnies grandsons Enda and Stephen. 

I was stood in nets (2 creamery cans) every evening after school. The creamery cans are still there along with a number of dents, so you can only imagine the shots that I had to take.

“If anyone knows my Da, you’ll know that you’ll hear him before you see him! (I hear he featured greatly on TG4 last week with his Tyrone flag). My mother has very rarely missed a game and is often seen hiding in the car pretending not to know my Da.”

Places in Tyrone: Can you tell us about three places in Tyrone which you feel would stand out for anyone visiting the county and which would be well worth going to see?

  • Killeeshil St. Marys football field is an obvious choice, best club in the county (not biased at all)
  • Winnie McElvogues – Great feeding, great gossip and great craic
  • The Brewers House – Best restaurant in Tyrone

GAA Life – My thoughts on…

Former Tyrone greats: Can you tell us, from watching Tyrone ladies and men’s teams over the years, tell us, three players, whom you looked up to and who really stood out for you in the Tyrone Ladies teams and Men’s teams?

LADIES

  • Eilish Gormley
  • Catriona McGahan
  • Orla O’Neill

MENS

  • Kevin Hughes
  • Conor Gormley
  • Philip Jordan

Celebrating all Ireland IFC semi final over Sligo

Tyrone Ladies 2017 – You are part of the Tyrone ladies Team who are into the all Ireland Intermediate Championship final. Can you tell us about the season so far with the ladies and your thoughts now looking ahead to the final against Tipperary?

The season so far has certainly been a long one. We started training at the end of September last year with preseason strength and conditioning. Sarah Connolly came on board this year with strength, conditioning and fitness over the winter months and throughout the season as well so we’ve been in for the long haul. We were unfortunate not to qualify for the league semi finals but have certainly learned from our mistakes as we progressed on to win an Ulster title and now into the All Ireland final.

Looking ahead to the final we will continue to work hard as we have done this past 11 months and will make sure to enjoy the experience. I’ve no doubt we can go all the way and take home the All Ireland title.  We have the majority club members on the panel (5 Killeeshil girls) so it also special to share this experience with them and the club.

In action for the Tyrone Senior ladies team (v Leitrim, all Ireland IFC quarter final)

Tyrone Ladies 2017: 3 Funniest club colleague(s) in the changing rooms & use one word for each what you think best describes each of them…

  • Zoe Loughran – Entertainer
  • Grainne Rafferty – Eejit
  • Christiane Hunter – Not wise

Club Life – My thoughts on…

Former Killeeshil players: Can you tell us, from watching Killeeshil ladies teams over the years, tell us, three players, whom you looked up to and who really stood out?

  • Helena McMullan: She may have only joined us for a few years but there was never a dull moment with Helena around. One of the strongest players to come through over the years and always had such drive and dedication. However, I’ll have to forgive her for possibly taking her home ground Tipp’s side in the final this year.
  • Catriona McGahan: hard to look up to her at 5ft nothing but nonetheless another committed player with the hoops who always had the most belief in the team. Her pace and work rate had no limits.
  • Lisa Marie Skeffington: one of the best forwards to come through the Killeeshil ladies, winning an All Ireland Skills competition at U14 level. Unlucky not to be part of the team this year due to injury but dedicated herself to management and always a role model to look up to.

Current Killeeshil Team – Could you put a player to the word that might best describe them below:

  • Confident: Grainne Rafferty
  • Great craic: Zoe Loughran
  • One liners: Sarah Millar
  • Scary: Cathy Donaghy
  • Tough: My sister Orla, tough life putting up with me as a sister
  • Fast: Shannon & Shauna Stevenson
  • Skillfull (sport): Ciara Donnelly
  • Genius: Dr. Ursula McGee
  • Fashionista: Lisa Marie Skeffington, hair is always on point

Social Life – My thoughts on…

Tell us about what things you enjoy best about the ‘weekend’ and favourite things to do?

Usually, between football, work and maybe an underage blitz, my weekend is hectic but when I get the odd Saturday night off we’ll usually head to Sallys or Spy in Monaghan. Tea dates with the ROD crew always must be fitted in somewhere.

Tell us best places to go for a night out (why?) in (a) Tyrone (b) anywhere in Ireland?

Tyrone – Sallys in Omagh or Tomneys pub in the Moy are usually the best places to head out.

Ireland – Had a very enjoyable O Connor Cup weekend in Tralee last year with UUJ, still unsure if they’ll allow us back though!

Could you tell us what places you have traveled to – and best memories & places that really stood out?

I traveled to America in 2014 for the summer, visiting Boston and New York. My favourite so far, however, has to be volunteering in South Africa last year with Friends of Africa. Some incredible memories were made and really put’s into perspective what you take for granted.

“My favourite so far, however, has to be volunteering in South Africa last year with Friends of Africa. Some incredible memories were made and really put’s into perspective what you take for granted.”

For fun…

Funniest thing you would say has happened to you in your life:

Had a car incident with Grainne Rafferty and Zoe Loughran a few years ago, coming home from training in Drumragh. We’ll not go too much into details but a certain “Ride or Die (ROD)” motto was taken by us 3 from that point on.

…with Grainne Rafferty and Zoe Loughran

Funniest person you know? One sentence that best describes them?

My Granny Mulgrew – One of a kind

Tell us your favourite Joke?

Emma Smyth taking 45’s for the Poly

Favourite “Laugh out Loud” Scene in a Movie?

Nearly every scene in Cool Runnings, too many to mention!

My life & favourites…

Gaelic Footballers (Mens and Ladies):

  • Mens – Aidan ‘O Shea
  • Ladies – Eimear Quinn (Ardboe/Moortown)

Sports: Gaelic, Tennis

Sportstars: Brian O’Driscoll, Roger Federer

Celebrities: Ellen DeGeneres, Conor McGregor, Claragh Connor (Bridesmaid at James McClean’s wedding)

Band/Singer(s): Picture This, All Folk’d Up

TV Show(s): Game Of Thrones, Peaky Blinders, Desperate Housewives

Movie(s): Cool Runnings, Any Harry Potter movie

Item of clothing: Jumper

Perfume: Olympia

Food: Pauline Smyth’s sausage rolls

Place (apart from home): Winnie McElvogues, although it basically counts as a home

Pub: The Hatfield house on a Sunday with a few loyals

Nightclub: Botanic Inn, Belfast

Sports Venue: Killeeshil St Marys football field

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat? Why?

Snapchat, always an amusement

Favourite Facebook or Twitter Page(s)?

Tyrone Tribulations

Favourite website(s)?

Anything shopping related

Inspirational Quote you like?

Fall 7 times, Stand up 8

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