MY LGFA LIFE WITH MAYO’S GRACE KELLY
MY LGFA LIFE WITH MAYO’S GRACE KELLY
May 13, 2020
"I deal with setbacks in a more productive way now" - My LGFA Life with Mayo's Grace Kelly
Grace Kelly – Mayo
Club: Moy Davitts
Occupation: Primary Teacher
County debut: 2006
Notable achievements: TG4 All-Star Nominee 2019, Western People Ladies Gaelic Football Sports Star Award 2018, Connaught Telegraph Award September 2018, LGFA Team of the League 2018, Lidl National League Division 1 Finalist 2018, Croke Park LGFA Player of the Month August 2017 and July 2018, TG4 Player of the Match Awards 2017 & 2018, TG4 All-Ireland Senior Finalist 2017, WGPA Player of the Month August 2017, 3 All-Ireland Titles with St. Patrick’s College, HEC All-Star Award while with St Pat’s, HEC All-Star with University of Limerick 2018, Club County Finalist 2019.
Q: Grace, thanks for chatting to us. How have you found your experience of playing Ladies Football?
A: Ladies Football has been my passion for as long as I can remember and I have had some of the best moments of my life playing football with my club, college and county teams. There is no doubt that it has been challenging and frustrating at times but it is from these moments that I have learned the most about myself and it has shaped me into the person I am today both on and off the pitch. I have gained life-long skills and attributes which I continue to apply to this day, e.g. the importance of respect, work-rate, communication, leadership and resilience to name just a few. Some of my best friends are my current teammates from both my club and county teams and we share so many unforgettable memories which I will cherish forever. I am still learning with each game that I play to this day and as I get older my drive to win and succeed keeps getting bigger and bigger. Football has been such an enjoyable and rewarding experience so far and I look forward to many more great days with my teammates.
Q: What was it that sparked your interest in the sport from a young age?
A: For as long as I can remember I have always had a huge interest in sport. Every day after school it would be a race to get out of our school uniform, change into our sportswear and grab the football outside. My Mum and Dad encouraged us to try out as many sports as possible when we were young. We tried out everything and anything – Gaelic, soccer, basketball, Irish dancing, running etc. – we were constantly on the go! What I enjoyed the most however were our competitive Gaelic Football battles with our two uncles and cousins out in our back garden! The excitement every time they came to visit was like no other! I admired my two uncles’ playing styles and wanted to be just like them. I was naturally right-footed as a child but because one of my uncles was left-footed I had to be a left-footer too! I used to practice for hours on end soloing and kicking the ball off the wall with my left foot and I am now more confident kicking off my left. My uncle also supported Liverpool so I followed suit for a while but that has changed now as I have knocked some sense into myself since!
A: How big a thrill was it for you to pull on the Mayo jersey?
A: Pulling on the Mayo jersey was and still is a huge honour every time I step on the pitch. My first time putting on the jersey was with the U12 Mayo team – I’ll never forget how big the jersey was on me.. It was more like a dress ha ha! I was so proud to be wearing it and I wanted to play the game of my life for my Mum and Dad. It was a magic moment running out on to the pitch with my teammates, some of whom still are my current teammates! Mayo is such a passionate and Gaelic Games-obsessed county and I am very proud every time I wear the jersey and represent the county.
Q: What is the best thing for you about playing Ladies Football?
A: The best thing for me about playing Ladies Football is the life-long friends you make and the memories you share with them forever – that is with my club, college and my county team. Each team is so unique and different which is what makes each team so special; from the craic on buses travelling back to college with a winning cup, to club team bonding sessions or the dreaded running sessions with the county team after a big loss the weekend before – all these moments brought great laughter and a sense of unity which is what makes playing a team sport so fulfilling!
Q: Who was the biggest influence on your career?
A: The Heffernan sisters were huge influences in my career – Marcella and Christina. I used to love watching them play when I was younger. They both managed our U16 Mayo team. They were great motivators and great people too. They brought out the best in you as a player. Myself and (my sister) Niamh loved going to their training sessions (even though they were a killer sometimes ha ha), we wanted to be just like them as sisters growing up!
Q: What are the main challenges that you have faced in your career so far?
A: The main challenges I have faced in my career so far are probably the losses. I hate losing! When I was younger I would beat myself up about it and blame myself a lot for the losses. As I developed as a player and built more resilience, I still hate to lose but I deal with setbacks in a more productive way now.
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