Heeney aims for a Wee bit of success with Scotland
Rosanna Heeney is hoping tomorrow's All-Ireland ladies' junior final is 'third time lucky' having lost two with Louth before.
Yet, in a bittersweet twist, she is looking to beat many of her old Wee County team-mates this time because she now captains Scotland. The Exiles only formed a county team earlier this year from their four clubs - Dunedin Connollys (Edinburgh), Glasgow Gaels, Tir Chonaill (also Glasgow) and Aberdeen-Dalrida - but caused a shock by beating Derry in their semi-final.
"We started a league and championship two years ago, play each other home-and-away and you can already see the improvement," Heeney said.
Heeney isn't the only one with All-Ireland final experience in Croke Park among them. Caoilfhionn Deeney starred for Wicklow when they won the junior title in 2011 and Olive McCafferty won an All-Ireland club with Termon last year.
Karen Feeney (Donegal) and Katie Mohan (Fermanagh) are two more who played at the highest level before emigrating and full-back Bronagh Hegarty played camogie for Antrim.
Many, like Heeney, went to Edinburgh originally to study and found it easier to find work there once qualified.
"There is a big Irish community here, even in my hospital, the Royal Infirmary," the Dundalk native explained. "The speech therapist and the occupational therapist I work with are Irish and it's the same on other wards, even with the nurses. Patients sometimes ask, 'Is there no one Scottish here?'"
The Roche Emmets forward played midfield for Louth in the 2010 final and corner-forward in 2012 but she was already commuting before the second one and threw her lot in with Dunedin Connollys a year ago when she got a full-time job.
That decision now pits her against her native county and former team-mates like Kate Flood, Susan Byrne, Ciara O'Connor and Grace Lynch.
"Grace would have been my best pal on the county team and she is still going, she is a machine," Heeney said. "We lost to Limerick in 2010 and Antrim in 2012. We were more favourites the second year because we'd beaten Antrim in the lead-up.
"Yes, I know, I still say 'we'!" she admitted, laughing.
Louth are red-hot favourites this time having hammered Scotland in an earlier round, though Heeney says the Exiles were not even doing collective training at that point.
"After that we got together once a week for training in Dundee and we also have everyone available for this game but it has been a bit of a whirlwind for us all," the physiotherapist admitted.
"I'm just treating this like a club game at home where I used to try to beat my friends. People keep saying, 'It'll be weird' but I've made Edinburgh and Scotland my home. I'm playing with these girls three years now, there's a final to be won."
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