Growing up in Camlough, outside Newry in south Armagh, Aimee Mackin was steeped in GAA. Her dad Mikey, was Chair of Shane O’Neill’s, their local club and her granny is currently President.

While she played camogie briefly, the Armagh lady developed a grá for the big ball from an early age. Freda, her mother, is involved in coaching, and both of her sisters also play the game.

She credits her parents for giving the family so many sporting opportunities not just with GAA, but swimming too.

She reckons her love for Gaelic football might have something to do with her dad.

“Anywhere Dad went, I was at his waist,” she recalls.

“We went to neutral games and then we went to all the Armagh games, club all-Ireland finals in Croke Park, even when we had no team playing, we still went along to watch,” she says.

Football star

After putting in so many years studying the game, is it any wonder she has now become one of the brightest ?Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) stars?

Also honoured to have played soccer for Northern Ireland from under-15 level up to senior international, she decided to focus her energy on Gaelic after a cruciate injury a few years ago.

She recalls how the winning Armagh senior footballers of 2002 and the ladies’ team from 2006 (who met Cork in the final) were idols to the Mackin children growing up, she notes, “Until you’re older, you don’t realise the influence you can have on both boys and girls,” she acknowledges.

“Both the Armagh men’s and ladies’ teams were massive, massive to us,” she adds.

Role model

Bearing this in mind, Aimee is proud to now be a role model for young sports players. She is currently promoting the 10-week programme “Gaelic4Girls” run by the ?LGFA, which is supported by Glenveagh Homes.

Girls aged between eight and 12 are encouraged to take part in this programme with a focus on those who are not currently registered with a ladies ?gaelic football club. Participants can expect coaching sessions with fun, non-competitive blitzes.

As Glenveagh launch the 2023 Gaelic4Girls, ambassadors Aimee Mackin (Armagh), Jennifer Higgins (Roscommon), Emma Duggan (Meath) and Laurie Ryan (Clare) are pictured in Croke Park/Ramsey Cardy, Sportsfile

“There are girls out there that have no role models or influences, it is all about fun and getting the girls involved,” encourages Aimee.

This year, there are 25 clubs taking part in Gaelic4Girls from across the four provinces in Ireland and two in Warwickshire, England.

However, any LGFA club here in Ireland can enter a competition to win a training session with one of the ‘Gaelic4Girls’ ambassadors at your club this summer.

To enter, upload your best team photos from your LGFA club social media account. Tag Glenveagh Homes and LGFA with the hashtag #G4Gskills. Closing date to enter is Friday, 21 April.

Best of luck to all involved!

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