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Ruitléis hails íosagáin glory

IN STILLORGAN, they simply call her 'Captain Fantastic'. Eabha Ruitléis is a Jackie of many trades, and a master of them all.

She has just led Coláiste íosagáin to the Tesco Junior B All-Ireland title.

They beat Scoil Bhríde of Tuam in the final at Birr.

Eabha played at centre half-forward. She hit six points, three coming from play.

As they say, she didn't lick her talent off the nearest lollipop. Her Dad, Frank, was an accomplished hurler and footballer with Kilmacud Crokes.

He won a Dublin Senior Hurling Championship medal in 1985, and in 1992 he collected a Dublin Senior Football Championship medal. Frank also gained All-Ireland glory three years later, while Eabha's mother, Aislinn, was a distinguished camogie player at Crokes.

Eabha also excels at basketball and soccer. And she plays with the Dublin U16 footballers.

She's a transition-year student at the famed South Dublin academy which this year also secured All-Ireland cross-country and camogie gold.

Eabha's role model is Lyndsey Peat, who rose to the top in both basketball and Gaelic football.

Eabha also admires her football coach at school, Ellen Nic Phiarsaigh, who played for Wicklow.

"We all look up to her so much. She put a huge effort in and she has such enthusiasm for the sport," relates éabha.

Ellen also guided íosagáin to last year's All-Ireland Senior B crown, and four of that side are now on her management crew at íosagáin, Niamh Ní Choileain, Caragh Ruitleis, Clár de Siún and Sadhbh Ni Dhochartaigh.

"I began playing football at Crokes," explains Eabha. "I followed my two sisters into it, Ruth and Caragh.

"I was lucky to have Cliona O'Mahoney as my mentor since I was seven. Her daughter, Isolt, got the player-of-the-match award in Birr.

"John-Joe Young from Kerry was also a big help to me.

"And we are also fortunate to have Marie O'Toole coaching us basketball. All the íosagáin girls rate her very highly. She was voted the Coach of the Year.

"Sport keeps me busy. I play soccer with Mount Merrion as well. I have been there since I was eight. We have fantastic mentors in Adrian Lyons, Mark Daniels and Aveen Moran."

Already, Eabha has played in two All-Ireland finals with the Dubs at U14 and U16 level. "I am on the Dublin U16s again this year, and it's such an honour. Training is hard but it's enjoyable. Things are going well and we have a nice set-up with Fearghal Brennan, Karen Flood, Pat Kane, Damien Prout and Deirdre Colgan."