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McAleer And Rushe Q And A With Christiane Hunter

Friday 07.08.2020
Team Talk Mag


  1. Earliest GAA memory

I remember just wanting to play football every chance I got, whether it was in St Conor’s Primary School every lunch time or at home playing all day with the neighbours until it was dark, trying to avoid windows when possible. My first memory of club football is being at a blitz with our manager Ciara Mc Elduff (Fox) telling us to tuck our massive jerseys in, so they didn’t look like dresses.

  1. How much time do you give over to GAA each week? Can you give us a breakdown of an average week?

When club and county are both in full swing, I would say I’m out 5-6 days every week between gym, club training/matches and county training/matches. Through PE teaching I’d also be coaching Gaelic after-school normally twice a week.

  1. The best GAA venue you have been to.

It has to be Croke Park, playing there is something that doesn’t happen very often and it really is an amazing experience. Healy Park is also a very special venue to me, I love playing our club games there and playing home games with Tyrone at your club pitch is always a bonus.

  1. School participation and/or success.

I loved playing school football for Sacred Heart College, we had a few successes winning the Tyrone Vocational Schools U16 and U19 championships where I played along-side some great players, making brilliant memories. I also had so many amazing experiences with University football in Jordanstown, winning Dowd Cups and League titles and reaching 3 O’Connor Cup finals (winning none), but I honestly made lifelong friends and it’s given me some of the funniest and best memories.

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

When I started playing football at Omagh I looked up to both Michaela Doherty (O’Neill) and Nicola Canavan (Scott), they were seniors and were playing for Tyrone at the time. They both coached the younger teams and were excellent leaders, they were the sort of players I aspired to be like in the future. At County level another role model was Eilish Gormley. She was such a skilful player and a great captain who was always so encouraging to younger players coming through.

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

I played Camogie, Tennis, Soccer and Netball through school and really enjoyed them. I tried to continue playing Netball after I left school but I just couldn’t commit to it with football taking up a lot of my time. I still try to play Netball on the odd occasion when I can.

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

Gemma Begley has always been so difficult to defend against, she’s pacey and can create a score from nothing and Neamh Woods, she just works so hard on and off the ball and her turn of pace on the counter attack is always dangerous.

  1. Best player you have ever seen play Gaelic football?

In men’s football I’d say Conor Gormley, a brilliant overall player and a very talented defender who was always in the right place at the right time. I think because he was a defender like myself, I looked up to him. Then in the ladies’ game it would have to be Juliet Murphy from Cork, an excellent reader of the game who seemed to be able to control every situation.

  1. Are you happy enough to see the restart of club and county activities?

Yes, it’s great to be back and I’ve loved getting the time to just concentrate on club football without the worry of training clashing with county.

  1. The best GAA match that you ever saw.

While the All-Ireland final 2003 is a game I will always remember, Peter Canavan’s match winning point against Armagh in the 2005 All-Ireland semi-final just summed up how exciting that game was and while it got Tyrone to another All-Ireland final it was great to beat Armagh, after they had beaten Tyrone in the Ulster final that year.

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

Absolutely, anything that can benefit young players in the long run has to be a positive. In the last few years at county senior level development players have not only strengthened our squad but improved their own skills and confidence.

  1. Your own involvement around the club at present.

In previous years I did a lot of coaching at underage level from U8, U10, U12 and U14 with my sister Lauren as “Assistant Coach”, God love her she was dragged everywhere. More recently it’s been hard to find time with my own football and work but I loved coaching the younger girls in the club and it’s been great to see them progress and develop through the age groups. As one of the more senior girls on the Omagh team it’s brilliant to see the minor girls coming into the senior squad and gaining confidence.

  1. How important is the GAA in your community?

I think the Covid outbreak has shown how important the GAA is throughout the country, Omagh St Enda’s has played a major part during the pandemic supporting the entire community. It’s clear to see that the GAA is much more than a sporting organisation and its great to be part of it.

  1. Favourite county jersey (not Tyrone)

The Kerry jersey, but my mother will be raging I didn’t say Fermanagh.

  1. What are your main strengths as a footballer?

I think I can read a game well and I’ve been told I’m a good talker on the pitch (not that this would be a surprise to anyone).



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