Cork camogie star Ashling Thompson details the vile sledging she has been subjected to
This year's All-Ireland winning camogie captain Ashling Thompson has opened up about how she has been targeted on the pitch.
The issue of sledging was highlighted this year after a Donegal minor was allegedly abused over the death of his father.
Thompson has suffered from depression ever since a car crash in 2009 and was rocked in 2012 after losing two people close to her to suicide, one was her boyfriend.
Speaking on Off The Ball on Newstalk, Thompson described how she was targeted during that incredibly difficult period in her life.
"It has happened throughout my career. It first started when I was going through those tough few years between 2009 and 2012. It started out to be my own fault really where I was acting out in games. I had no one to blame except myself for that," she said.
"I definitely suffered from 2012 onwards where people would lash out and try to get the better of me by abusing me vocally as well as physically."
She described one incident of sledging during a club game which was particularly cruel.
"There was one standout club, I won't name names - it's not because I'm afraid to - it would just completely fall back on myself and them.
"The past was brought up and I was told that when I had the chance to give up on myself, I should have taken the chance.
"My ex-partner [who had taken his own life] was brought into it as well, [they said] you know 'would you blame him?'
"It's shocking really. I never expected someone to steep that low. I wouldn't expect it from my own worst enemy. When you hear it coming out of a supposed athlete's mouth, especially at senior level, you wouldn't see it at junior Z, so I couldn't undertand how people act this way.
"It was shocking and it took everything in my power not to bury my fist down their throat."
Thompson gave advice to players on how to react if they find themselves treated in a similar way.
"I tend to channel my revenge through my play. My answer is to absolutely destroy them on the field," she added
"That's how I retaliate; by absolutely winning very single ball that I can and just destroying them as a player.
"I soak all of that up and that really makes me a better player because all I want to do is prove people wrong. I love to prove people wrong and let them know that they're not going to get the better of me.
"Don't ever quit or back down from anyone. Go straight to management with the one or two teammates that you trust, tell them about everything that has gone on. There should definitely be immediate suspension or some sort of punishment for those players.
"Because that's absolutely disgusting and if I told someone on the team that girls were bullying me, they would be in such a bad light. Don't ever think that they're going to take the place [defend] an absolute bully. No one is going to take the place of an absolute bully.
"Once it comes out, people are going to have your back.
"When it's all done, put your revenge into your training and be the best athlete that you can be and prove everyone wrong."