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Well-travelled Kenneally now relishing chance with Lilywhites

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Kenneally would still love to be representing Waterford but her hectic schedule meant something had to give.

Kenneally would still love to be representing Waterford but her hectic schedule meant something had to give.

Kenneally would still love to be representing Waterford but her hectic schedule meant something had to give.

Grainne Kenneally is a Tipperary woman, who grew up on the Cork, Tipperary and Waterford border, played her club football in Waterford, went on to play inter-county for the Déise and now lines out for Kildare.

The 32-year-old has added massive experience to the Kildare ranks this year and they have a perfect record in the Lidl NFL ahead of Wicklow's visit to Hawkfield in their rescheduled fixture tomorrow.

Kenneally would still love to be representing Waterford but her hectic schedule meant something had to give. She is an instructor in cadet school for the Defence Forces while also studying a Masters in IT Carlow.

The Araglen native was about to hang up her boots before the Lilywhites came calling, and now she looks forward to a prosperous future with them.

"I am still really good friends with the Waterford girls," said Kenneally.

"Even though I have changed counties it's all on good terms. Both counties have been very supportive."

Unstuck

Kenneally made her Waterford debut in 2007 and played her last game for them two years ago. It was 14 July when Waterford came unstuck against Westmeath in a crucial TG4 All-Ireland Championship round robin-tie at MacDonagh Park in Nenagh.

Unfortunately for Kenneally she damaged the cruciate ligament in her right knee during that game. It was the second time in her career that injury had struck, and she would never play for Waterford again.

By the time she was fit again, the four-hour round trip to Waterford each evening for training had become unsustainable.

She was originally a PE and Maths teacher at Presentation Secondary School in Wexford town. But after two years of being stuck in a classroom Kenneally decided to follow her sense of adventure.

A life in the Defence Forces called out, and she made the plunge in September 2012. Kenneally moved to the Curragh as part of the 89th cadet class and never looked back.

"I wanted a different type of a challenge," she added. "The physical conditioning and training and that resilience and teamwork you build up through football came across for me.

"There was always a sports interest and that is why I went the PE route initially. It was a physical and mental challenge to join the military.

"Coming up to Kildare, my home is in Naas, training is in Newbridge, I work in the Curragh. That is a 15-minute loop. It's great.

"It is great to be able to make training after work. We are looked after well out in Kildare."

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