Eilis December Blog

Monday February 4th 2013

With the onset of a new year, we often look back and reflect on the months gone past with
fond memories of all the different occasions and significant milestones we experienced. For me
personally, it’s hard to comprehend how much has happened in the space of twelve months. 2012
has without doubt been one of the most rewarding in my life to date and has made me realise how
really privileged I am.

Having been rewarded the Michaela student scholarship back in March things would continue to be
great. Reaching what I thought as being a lifetime achievement in my playing career of running out
onto Croke Park has been achieved at the tender age of twenty. I have always looked at the GAA
headquarters as the pinnacle point and the highlight in any player’s life. It is better than you can ever
imagine, the changing rooms alone add a very professional dimension to our amateur sports. The
finals of all three divisions in the Camogie championship were played on the 16 th of September with
talent from every province being represented. Every player in Ireland longs to play at the top flight
level of their given sport. Wexford have been dominating as past few years and I admire many of
their players and the dedication and commitment needed to play at the highest level. This playing
season of 2013 will see the Derry team playing in the senior league and championship grades for the
first time since the 50’s and 60’s.

Within the county, we now face the task of defending our county title a great position to be in
for the first times in our lives. I look forward to beginning training with the girls again albeit short
lived as I will be jetting off on the second of February. I am now aware there is a GAA club based in
Brussels and I hope to train with them during my stay in Belgium. This opportunity will open many
doors for me I am sure as I will meet plenty of faces from our little emerald isle who share the same
passion for our native sports as I do.

At present I am on my teaching practice. I have completed one of four weeks and I must say I am
really enjoying it. This year I am teaching primary 5, a class of 28 pupils who most definitely keep me
on my toes! I am expected to cover a wide range of lessons and topics, not to fear I still manage to
fit in a few classes of Irish per week! Teaching practice is a good way of breaking up the academic
year as students usually tend to apply for a school within their home catchment area. This allows
us to experience and exploit the home comforts for a few extra weeks and forget about the cold
damp houses that are the ‘Holylands’. The daily school routine can be hectic and I have already
developed the ‘love of a Friday’ feeling, and I haven’t qualified yet! During my teaching practice I
will be visited by a number of tutors from St. Mary’s who will hopefully praise my efforts and give
me advice on areas I may need to work on. This can be slightly nerve racking but by taking as many
lessons as possible before then both the children and I will feel more relaxed and comfortable with
the surroundings.

I cannot but mention the programme that was aired on TG4 recently in honour of Michaela courtesy
of Under the Radar. ‘Michaela, Mo Dheirfiúr’ portrays the positive impact she had on many lives
none more so than her own family. Mark, her brother talks in a very insightful and inspiring manner
of Michaela’s traits and how much she was truly valued and will continue to be. Many will agree
that the families way of coping with such a tragedy is more than inspirational, such strong faith in
God. The beautiful documentary allowed the wider community who did not know her personally
an understanding of how she led her life. Through different events the Michaela Foundation aims
to keep her legacy alive and have succeeded in doing so to date particularly in the Match for

Michaela and the summer camps. The summer camp is a brilliant opportunity for young girls to gain
inspiration from Michaela and my hope is that these camps will spread right through Ulster in the
coming years so that her values and morals can be shared.

Finally I wish each of you a very happy new year and the best of luck with your new year’s