Tuesday 21 January 2020

Bending it like Bernard -- twins celebrate on double

Twins Saibh, left, and
Enya Hannigan with
their two Cumann na
mBunscoil trophies.
Twins Saibh, left, and Enya Hannigan with their two Cumann na mBunscoil trophies.

Edel O'Connell

THESE sisters are definitely not doing it for themselves.

Twelve-year-old twins Enya and Saibh Hannigan are the toast of their school after helping both the boys' and girls' football teams win the finals of the Cumann na mBunscoil in Croke Park

No sooner had the sporty duo seen off local rivals Holy Trinity from Donaghmede at Croke Park, they were back on the pitch proving they could bend it like Bernard Brogan -- leading the boy's team to glory.

It is the first time in the history of St Paul's National School in Ayrfield, north Dublin that both the boys and the girls have been in the Cumann na mBunscoil final on the same day and won both games.

Spectators thought they were seeing double as the 12-year-old twins, who look identical but are not, tore up the midfield to ensure the trophy cabinet at St Paul's was well stocked in time for Christmas.

The girls, who have also been playing for local GAA club O'Toole's in Ayrfield since they could walk, barely drew a breath after winning the girl's final after 40 minutes of play.


One quick jersey change later and the dynamic duo were helping the boys' team take the lead against Clonburris National School in Clondalkin.

There was a double celebration in the Hannigan household when the twins arrived home.

"The twins were incredible yesterday, after the girl's match they just changed their jerseys and did not even wait around for the celebratory photographs but were straight back out with the boys," said their father, Wayne.

"It was fantastic to see both the boys and girls doing so well."

Perhaps, it is little surprise that the girls play so well as Wayne played for Colchester FC in England for five years.

He played hurling and football with O'Toole's, where he now coaches.

Both girls have been playing in competitions since they were very young and have already competed in an All-Ireland Feile na nGael under-14 competition.

The girls also won the division one under-12 league and championship with O'Toole's last year

Saibh is undergoing trials with the under-14 Dublin women's football team

Her sisters, Alannah and Shannon, also play for O'Toole's and Alannah is also trying out for the Dublin team.

Maire Ni Mhalalai, who is captain of the girl's team at St Paul's, said: "It is the first time in the history of the school that we had a girls' and boys' team in a final at the same time which was exciting in itself but then to see them both win was amazing.

"The twins have been on the team for three years and this was their third final in Croke Park.

"They lost the other two, so it is fantastic that now that they are in their final year that will go out in a blaze of glory."

"I don't know how they did it but they did," she added.

Mrs Ni Mhalalai said great credit was due to Niall Williams, who is the Gaelic officer in local club O'Tooles and was instrumental in helping to train both of the teams

"Sean O Seaghdha, who trained the boy's team, also deserves great praise. Christmas certainly came early for us this year," she said.

Irish Independent

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