Scott: Being a mum makes you appreciate it more
Published 02/07/2016 | 02:30
Anyone heading to the Tyrone v Cavan men's replay tomorrow should get to Clones early because the curtain-raising Ulster ladies' football final should not disappoint.
Cavan and Monaghan have already caused two of the biggest surprises of the season by knocking out the province's big guns in the semi-finals.
Cavan's one-point defeat of defending champions Donegal has yielded their first Ulster senior final appearance.
Yet the Farney's 16-point rout of 2014 champions Armagh was an even more seismic shock, given how many players they've lost this year, including stars like Caoimhe Mohan, Cathriona McConnell and Linda Martin.
"We didn't even know if we were going to have a team at the start of the year," admitted Monaghan's Therese Scott (nee McNally), whose own participation was never in doubt despite having her first child last June.
"I didn't actually realise I was six weeks pregnant when I played in the pre-All-Ireland blitz in 2014," revealed the 30-year-old, who was back playing club football just six weeks later.
"I had a C-section and just healed really quickly. I started out with some running and then went back to a few club sessions. My doctor just told me to listen to my own body and do what felt right."
Scott used to also run with Glaslough Harriers in her spare time but there hasn't been much of that since her daughter was born. She admits that combining motherhood, work and inter-county football is a mammoth organisational challenge, which surely contributes to how few mums play in the inter-county ranks.
"I work from 1.0-6.0pm in a crèche in Truagh and, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, go straight on to training so you have to be very organised," Scott (right) observed.
"The difference now is that I have to always think a day and a week ahead, you're always planning. But my husband Shane is great, and he works from home quite a bit which really helps.
"There's a pram and a load of baby stuff in the boot now, as well as all the footballs and boots!"
Scott is also coeliac so must be particularly careful not to over-train. Speaking at the launch of the WGPA's new 'Be You - Belong' campaign, which underlines the inclusivity of sport, she stressed that motherhood has only increased her appreciation of playing in what is her 13th inter-county season.
"When you become a mum you realise how special and important it is to be part of a team, the friends you make, and how much it gives to your whole life, not just your health," she enthused.
"I want to tell the younger girls now to take every opportunity they get because life goes by so quickly.
"Okay it's busy!" she laughed. "But I do it because I enjoy it and I've great help which allows me to do it."
Baby Isla has more than one great role model.
In 2002 her granny Eileen was in goals for the Tyholland team that won the All-Ireland junior club title. It included all five of her daughters and was coached by her husband Owen.
Grainne and Therese will both line out for Monaghan tomorrow, Una, Rynagh and Brenda all still play for Emyvale and their dad still coaches them.
"I'd love for Isla to be involved too when she grows up," Scott stressed. "In one way becoming a mum has made me appreciate football more than I ever did before."
To find out more about the 'Be You -Belong' campaign see www.wgpa.ie