In the many grades of GAA and LGFA, it's a rarity to think that somebody defeated at the quarter-final stage, would go on to be nominated for the Player of the Year. Well, that's precisely what Niamh O'Dea achieved. Such was the quality of the dual stars performances, she found herself beside All-Ireland winners Sarah Dillon and Lucy McCartan, despite having exited the championship at the hands of Westmeath 2 stages earlier. This week we went ClubSpotting with Banner Ladies and Clare star Niamh O'Dea.
What are your first memories of your club?
Starting off I played with the boy's team in Kilfenora, I have so many good memories with them. From going to underage games when there would be a queue to try and go to games in the back of my father's van, to getting driven around the village on the back of a truck when we won finals. The whole village would be out with banners and flags. Memories that mean a lot.
Who were your sporting idols growing up?
Growing up Ciaran McDonald and Jamesie O’Connor were two players who I admired.
What has been the proudest moment of your playing career?
Captaining my club The Banner Ladies to the Munster Senior A Club Final is high up there, my father was over us and I was playing alongside my sister so that makes it extra special. A close 2nd would be winning the Minor A Munster final with Clare, we were massive underdogs on the day but came out the right side of it. Days like that have been few and far between since then.
Toughest opponent you have faced?
Sarah Tierney from Mayo and UL Sinead Kelly from West Clare Gaels.
Best Player you have played with?
I have been lucky enough to have the pleasure of playing alongside several talented players across club, county, and also in college in UL.
For club no one can even come close to Louise Henchy, nothing I could say would even do her justice. Just top-notch athlete, player, and person on and off the pitch.
In UL I have played with players from all over Ireland Lorraine Scanlon, Roisin Leonard, and Sarah Tierney to name a few who are all unbelievable players.
Any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
I am that player who is laughing and joking and keeping busy before a game, don’t like to have too much time to be overthinking before the game.
Getting changed then it's always left boot first, don’t even know why just something that has developed over time.
What are your hopes and ambitions for 2022?
Firstly, it would be to get back to playing club football before the season ends, have missed groups games through injury so hope to get back injury-free and hopefully help my club retain the senior championship.
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