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Grainne Rafferty Takes The Mc Aleer And Rushe Q And A

Friday 12.06.2020
Team Talk Mag

1. Earliest GAA memory.

My earliest memory would be my Dad managing the u16 boys team in Killeeshil. Mum, my brothers and I would follow them and we had to make sure the water bottles were filled – a very important job at that age.

2. Was your family a traditional GAA family?

Yes I would say so. Dad played football for Killeeshil and Tyrone and won a Sigerson Cup Medal with Queen’s. He was “player manager” when Killeeshil won the Intermediate Championship in 1986 and went on to be involved in the club both as a manager and committee member. Dad managed Killeeshil youth teams to several county titles including Og Sport and the Paul McGirr Tournament.

Mum played camogie for Aghaloo and was involved in the committee. Mum helped out with the ladies youth teams in Killeeshil and was also a committee member.

My two older brothers play for Killeeshil. We were going to GAA matches from a very young age with the football, flask and packed lunch in the boot.

3. The best GAA venue you have been to?

County – Croke Park/Fitzgerald Stadium or Armagh Athletic Grounds for flood light fixtures.

Club – The home venues – St Mary’s Park and Dungannon Eoghan Ruadh

4. School participation and/or success.

In Cabragh we had a good primary school team with success in a number of tournaments.

At St Ciarans we were lucky to have a good mixture of players from different club teams. We lost out on a few Ulster Titles at U14 and U16 however we won the Ulster U19B title in 2014 and I captained the Team in 2015 to the Ulster U19A title. I was awarded Post Primary School All Stars in those two years.

I then went to Jordanstown – we won the Division 3 League and Lynch Cup in 2018 in which I was awarded player of the tournament and the following year we went on to win the Division 2 League and the Giles Cup.

5. Club/ County role models that you looked up to as a youth

Club – I looked up to Lisa Marie Toal (Skeffington), Zoe Loughran, Louise Kelly and Kevin and Martin Hughes.

County – Gemma Begley and Eilish Gormley

6. Other sports that you played or had an interest in

I played netball, basketball and handball at school.

I play camogie with Naomh Treasa Dungannon and enjoy golfing and swimming.

7. Most difficult opponent you have faced in club football and why?

Hard to say – I’ve had good battles with many players from different clubs.

8. Best player you have ever seen play Gaelic football

Peter Canavan

9. Are you a fan of the recent rule changes?

I think the kick-out rule won’t make much of a difference. The attacking mark is making the gaa more like the AFL and encourages accurate kick passing more so than attacking football.

I think the sin bin which is similar to the ladies yellow card is a good idea instead of the player being eliminated from the game.

I think the timer would be beneficial for all GAA games as time keeping is an ongoing issue.

10. The best GAA match that you ever saw.

Would have to be the 2003 All Ireland Football Final when Tyrone won their first All Ireland or the 2018 Hurling Final between Limerick and Galway.

11. Are you a fan of academies/development squads? Why

I think they are good as players get an insight into inter county set ups and the dedication required to succeed. The academies and development squads are a good opportunity for players from different clubs and skills levels to improve as part of a county structure.

Players can benefit from the coaching available and this can encourage them to work hard and improve on their individual games.

12. Your own involvement around the club

I have represented the club in Scór and won a county title as part of the ballad group.

I was involved in managing youth teams and have helped out at underage trainings, presentation nights and the Easter/Summer Camps.

13. How important is the GAA in your community?

It is very important because all ages can participate in the GAA community in different ways such as a player, volunteer or supporter.

The GAA offers support and a sense of belonging.

14. Favourite county jersey (not Tyrone)


15. Are you a fan of penalties to decide the outcome of championship games?

No. Felt sorry for the Tyrone clubs who lost out as a result of penalties last year. I think that all championship matches should go to a replay if they end in a draw after extra time. If the Replay ends in a draw after extra time 45/65 frees should be used – not penalties.


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