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My Club & I: St Paul’s ladies footballer and Emo secretary – Anne Lawlor

The Coronavirus pandemic means that while we should be in the middle of GAA action – we’ve yet to get started.

Around now, Laois clubs would be nearing the end of their league campaigns while the county teams should be battling in their respective championships.

Instead, all action has been halted but we now have a roadmap to a return to action.

GAA pitches will be open in a few weeks with club championships scheduled to get underway at the end of next month.

And ahead of that, we are continuing with our My Club & I segment which has got a new focus – club officials.

While the action on the pitch has stopped – the work off of it hasn’t and up next is St Paul’s Anne Lawlor.

Former Emo GAA PRO and current St Paul’s full back, Anne is also the secretary.

Take it away Anne:

What’s your earliest GAA memory?

When Laois won the first ever minor All Ireland final in 1996 when Daddy (Gabriel Lawlor) was over the team.

We went to all the training sessions all the practice matches and we travelled everywhere with the team. The celebrations and the homecoming was amazing.

Tell us a bit about the club?

Our club has been around for 12 years or more and started as a juvenile club initially. We didn’t have an adult team until we started a mothers and others team to see was there any interest in an adult ladies team 5 or 6 years ago.

Since starting we have had huge success from under age right up to winning our first ever Junior and Intermediate titles. We have a great club and we use the Emo GAA facilities.

We have some amazing people involved in our club as supporters team mentors to committee members and players these are vital to keep any club going.

We are a very small area so we don’t have a big pick so we are lucky to have the numbers we have for all age groups.

What are the facilities like?

We use Emo GAA facilities which are amazing we have a community centre and we have two pitches the top pitch is probably one of the best pitches in the county.

We are very lucky that we have such amazing people involved in Emo GAA and the wider community who have put a lot of work and effort into improving our facilities all the time.

Can you remember the first time you got involved in an official capacity?

I started off being PRO for Emo GAA for a few years before becoming secretary for 3 years that was a very tough job but very enjoyable.

This year I became secretary of the ladies club I wanted to give something back to the club and make sure I set an example for players and make sure to keep them involved and encourage other players to get involved.

What is your favourite memory while being involved?

Winning our first ever Junior title with St Pauls Ladies and being captain and having both Emma and Denise my two nieces playing alongside me.

This was a great feeling we have since gone on to win another junior and an intermediate title to bring us up to senior level this year.

How has the Coronavirus pandemic affected your role currently

Well being secretary of St Pauls Ladies and playing I was expecting a very busy year ahead but the coronavirus put a stop to that there isn’t much going on with the club as everything is put on hold.

You’d miss the training with the girls having the craic and complaining to Declan Lawlor our manager about having to do more hard sessions and runs.

It’s a crazy time we are in at the moment and as much I hate training you’d miss it terrible no GAA on the tv nothing.

I would love to see the football back but I can’t see how it will happen we just have to make sure we are all stay safe and see what happens.

What young player in your club would you say is one to watch out for?

Ciara Crowley – she is a super footballer. She reads the game very well and she was my saviour last year playing at full back. I needed a sweeper in front of me for most games because I wouldn’t be the fastest of players! And when you have a nippy full forward you need all the help you can get.

She is tough as nails and if she is going for a 50/50 ball you can be guaranteed she will come out on top. She is super fit and a real team player.

For such a young lady, only 15, she has a very good football head and I can see her playing senior football with Laois in a few years please god.

If you could do anything to improve the club, what would it be?

I would love to see the ladies join in with Emo GAA and be all under one umbrella as I think for fundraising and sponsorship it would all be done for one club. Hopefully in the future.

What’s the best and worst thing about being involved?

Best thing about being involved in a club is they are like one big family it’s great to be involved in games fundraising and making sure there is a future for the generations to come.

Worst thing is the first few training back of the new year they are tough after been lazy for the winter.

SEE ALSO – My Club & I: RTE journalist, Laois Macra aficionado and St Joseph’s secretary – Peter Farrell

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.