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Duleek woman hoping to pull off the right moves

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DULEEK songwriter Una O'Boyle is this week flying the flag for Ireland as she competes in the Chess Olympiad in Germany.

Proving that there is no end to her talents, Una flew out to Dresden last Wednesday, part of a team of five women (one reserve) chosen to represent her country.

However, when the 42year-old sat down to play her first game on Thursday, she couldn't help but think of her late father, Enda who died last year.

'He would have been so proud,' she said. 'Dad was passionate about chess and taught me how to play it at a young age.

'The fact that I am representing my country is an amazing feeling. I never thought it would have such an impact on me, but it has.'

While Una is better known for her musical skills, her passion for chess began when she was just 10 years old.

These days, however, her hobby has proved to be a nice little earner as she teaches chess in Irish to Scoil Aonghusa pupils every Friday and various other Gaelscoileanna around Dublin.

She has also written an Irish-language book, Ficheall, which explains the rules of chess to children. Dedicated to her dad, Una is hopeful that the book will be published by next February.

'Chess is a mind game,' she said. 'It's a brilliant exercise in sharpening your concentration.

' There is this myth that only geeks play the game, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

'It's great to see the children get involved, especially those with special needs or learning disabilities who find the game comes easy to them.'

A member of Rathmines Chess Club, Una was approached by the Irish Chess Union to compete in Dresden, much to the envy of her family.

'My brother Donal is a superb player,' she said. 'So needless to say he was extremely jealous when he heard I was going to Germany and he's not!

It was a proud moment for her mum Vera, too, who admitted to playing a little herself.

'We're all delighted for Una but we're jealous at the same time,' she said.

While Una is competing as part of the Irish women's team, she also hopes to make the grade as an individual.

'As a team, Ireland has never really featured at previous Olympiads,' she said.

'It's hard because the competition is tough.

'However, over the years we've had numerous individuals who have received titles, for example last year we got a Woman FIDE Master. That's what I'm aiming for… so watch this space.'

The Chess Olympiad is taking place until November 25th.