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ClubSpotting with Leona Archibold

Losing to your neighbours is never easy. Watching on as your fiercest rivals celebrate is indeed possibly the most bitter pill that can be swallowed. How you react is what counts though. Westmeath Ladies lost out narrowly to their Meath counterparts in the 2020 Intermediate decider but came back stronger in 2021 to blow Wexford out of the water and regain their Senior status. The multi-talented Leona Archibold was a prominent figure throughout the championship for her side. This was the former Irish soccer international's first taste of All-Ireland glory after many years of playing for her county. Does revenge for 2020 lie on the horizon for Westmeath? Who knows, but for now, we went ClubSpotting with Leona Archibold to St. Loman’s GAA Club in Mullingar.

What are your first memories of your club St. Loman’s?

My favourite memory with St. Loman’s was definitely winning my first senior championship, we went on then to win three senior championships in a row.

Who were your sporting idols growing up?

Dessie Dolan was definitely one of my sporting idols growing up, he was one of the best forwards tear a Westmeath jersey and I remember going to games as a child saying I’d love to be as good as him.

Toughest opponent you have faced?

Jenny Rogers from Miltown and Fiona Coyle from Rochfortbridge be 2 of my toughest opponents over the years, myself and Jenny have battled it out for years playing club and even marking each other at county training she’s a very strong physical player so she was a nightmare to get around. Fiona Coyle probably one of the fittest players on our county panel would be stuck to you like glue on the pitch, no matter where you end up on the field she’s beside you, definitely a forwards worst nightmare.

Best Player you have played with?

I’d definitely have to say Lucy McCarton from my own club St. Loman’s and Sarah Dillon from Miltown also both my Westmeath teammates, Lucy is an all-round sports person and you can always rely on her to run up and down the field giving 100% for 60 mins. Sarah is one of the younger players on our panel and no matter where you placed the ball in the forward line she’ll get on the end of it and produce a score, both brilliant players for their age.

You played a huge part in winning the Intermediate All-Ireland with Westmeath, describe how it feels to be part of such a special group?

Winning the All-Ireland this year was amazing, I’ve been playing with Westmeath on and off from a very young age and this was my first All-Ireland to win, losing the All-Ireland back in December to Meath was obviously a tough one to take but the effort put in by all the girls and all our management team this year was brilliant and we seemed to want it more, we definitely weren’t going to leave it behind again this was well worth the wait for this year as we got to win it in front of all our family and friends.

Do you have any superstitions or pre-game rituals?

I’m not really a superstitious person but I like to keep to the same pair of boots until the championship ends.

What are your hopes and ambitions heading into the remainder of the season?

Hopefully this year we can go one step further than last year with Loman’s and make the final again.

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