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All-Star Aisling Maher talks camogie and college

Published: 9th February 2018

Final year student and Trinity Sport scholar Aisling Maher received one of the GAA’s highest accolades at the end of last season when she won an All Star for playing camogie with Dublin. We caught up with the talented sportswoman to find out more…
 
Where and when did you start playing camogie?
I first started to play camogie with my local club, St Vincent’s, when I was about four.

Did you always want to play for Dublin?
Absolutely! Growing up I would have watched older players in my club playing with Dublin panels and so it would always have been something I aspired to do.

When did you first don the blue jersey?
 My first time playing for Dublin was with the U12 Dublin development team.

Do you, or did you used to, play any other sports?
Camogie is my priority now but I have tried other sports. I used to play Gaelic football for a local club, and in school I would have played basketball, hockey and did some athletics – pretty much anything that got me out of class!

Does sporting talent run in the family?
I’d say so. My Mam has always been a competitive swimmer and has held national records. My Dad hurled up until he joined the Air Corps. 

What have you learned from playing team sports?
Way more than I could ever explain! But maybe most importantly I’ve learned that in a team you can always give more.

When things get tough in team sports it’s your team mates that drag you through; it’s your determination not to let them down and to stick it out together that gets the extra mile out of each individual. That level of trust and cooperation under pressure is something I’ve definitely learned from team sports.

How would you describe camogie, in particular, and GAA, in general, at Trinity?
The GAA club in Trinity is like no other group I’ve ever been a part of. GAA has been a massive part of my college experience and something that I probably wouldn’t have made it through college without.

As a club GAA is brilliant for looking out for new members, in particular Freshers, and for including them and welcoming them to the set up.

I am obviously biased but definitely believe that the camogie team in Trinity is the best of the lot of them! I have never enjoyed playing camogie as much as I have done with college. Whether we’re winning championships or taking heavy defeats, they are the best group of girls to be around.

I have never been on a team with such a brilliant mix of players and personalities and probably never will be again. In a word they are absolutely crazy but in the best sense possible!

What piece of advice would you give to other young girls out there who might want to follow in your footsteps?
Make sure you enjoy playing. It’s so much easier to commit to something you love doing, so pick a sport you love and work hard at it.

This is Dublin’s first All-Star since 2007 – how does that make you feel?
It’s all a little bit surreal still! A lot of work has been put into Dublin camogie to get us back into a position where our players are getting the opportunity to be nominated for these awards. We had seven players including myself nominated last season. That’s an indication of the amount of work that has been put into developing camogie in Dublin, not only by players and management but by everybody else behind the scenes as well. I feel really grateful to have been able to benefit from all of the hard work that’s been done.

You’re currently in your final year of medicinal chemistry. How have you managed to juggle all your academic and sporting commitments?
It’s definitely difficult at times. I’ve found that working hard and being able to recognise what your priority is at any given moment is vitally important.

When you get to exam time in college it’s important to be able to condense training to short intense sessions and take days off when study has to be prioritised. Conversely, it’s important to be able to plan ahead with academic work to ensure your focus is on sport around the time of competitive fixtures and that nothing else is distracting or stressing you.

  • Aisling Maher is the second Trinity GAA player in recent times to collect an All Star. BESS student and Dublin hurler Danny Sutcliffe also picked one up for the 2013 season.

Photo (L-R): Provost Patrick Prendergast, Aisling’s sister Isobel, Aisling, her mother Mary, Head of Sport Michelle Tanner and GAA Development Officer Conor Laverty