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Lawlor aiming high for game

AILEEN LAWLOR is sitting on the sixth floor at HQ. Croke Park is a different place today than when the camogie president played for Crumlin and Dublin.

She glances down at the immaculate lawn. And she recalls the moment last September when Wexford's Ursula Jacob lit up the All-Ireland final and screens all over the country with a nugget of a goal.

"It was a fantastic goal. The pundits said it was the best GAA goal of 2012. It went viral. It just shows that we are up there with any of the male sports.


"We just want to promote our game and bring it to a higher stage. All sports need exposure. We are working hard to raise the profile of camogie. We know we have something special to offer," stated Aileen.

She was speaking on the day when camogie enjoyed championship lift-off. And with the arrival of Liberty Insurance as sponsors, hopes are soaring higher than ever before.

"It's a new exciting partnership with Liberty, who, of course, are also the hurling sponsors. Camogie and hurling have a natural synergy. It's a big boost for us.

"We had three top-class All-Ireland finals down on that Croke Park pitch last year.

"We'll be celebrating our 110th birthday next year and the countdown to this season's championship is well under way."

Picking a winner will not be easy. "Wexford are going for the four in a row. Cork will want to stop them. Galway have been knocking on the door.

"Offaly have come on in leaps and bounds. Derry have joined the senior ranks. Clare could be a dark horse.

"Then you have the likes of Kilkenny, Tipperary and Dublin as well, so it's all to play for.

"You can look at the league and get some idea of the form, but championship brings something different. It's special. And you can't really predict how it's going to turn out."

Aileen will hope to get to as many games as possible. She has a packed diary.

"It's a busy role alright. You put up a lot of mileage, but I'm enjoying it."

On her travels, her mind often wanders back to the golden days of Crumlin, Jimmy Boggan and Billy Maloney.

"That was a marvellous time. Playing with my three sisters was lovely," Aileen said.

"We won the All-Ireland with Crumlin in 1985. It only seems like yesterday."