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Mags McAlinden

Mags McAlinden

Irish Independent/Lucozade Sport Player of the Month for June


Armagh’s Mags McAlinden named Irish Independent/Lucozade
Sport Player of the Month for June. 

Armagh’s growing stature in ladies football has gained further
recognition after centre-forward Mags McAlinden was named the
Irish Independent/Lucozade Sport Player of the Month for June.
Mags, who played a leading role in Armagh’s TG4 Ulster quarter-final
win over Donegal, is the first Armagh player to win the award
this year.

The 22-year-old is daughter of former Armagh player and ex joint-manager,
Brian McAlinden. Brian played for Armagh before eventually going
on to manage them alongside Brian Canavan with the back to back
Ulster titles in 1999/2000 being the high points.

Not so long ago, the Armagh ladies footballers were plodding
around in the backwaters of the game – largely unnoticed by others.
However, the Orchard has certainly started to bloom in recent
times. They won the TG4 All-Ireland junior football title last
year at Croke Park – beating Sligo in the final.

In doing so, they have made the step up to the senior championship
this year and have certainly not looked out of place in Ulster
so far.

“We were there or thereabouts a few years ago but Donegal
beat us in the Ulster junior championship,” recalls Mags.
“They went on to win the All-Ireland so we knew then that
we weren’t all that far away so we just worked hard and thankfully
managed to win the junior last year.”

Football is certainly in the family as younger sisters Grainne
and Catherine have represented Armagh at underage level as well.
Armagh advanced to the Division One quarter-finals of the Suzuki
National Football League earlier this year where they lost to
eventual champions Cork.

Although this is their first season in the Ulster senior championship,
Mags believes they can raise a few eyebrows. “Monaghan are
probably the strongest team in the province at the moment but
we’d like to think that we have a realistic chance of winning
Ulster this year.”

On a personal level, the Clann Eireann player put an injury troubled
National League behind her to star for Armagh during the month
of June. Mags had an Achilles tendon problem earlier this year,
but this award shows she’s put that firmly behind her.

“I’m delighted to receive the award. I was surprised when
I got the call but since I’ve come back from injury I’ve worked
hard on my fitness and this is another good boost for my confidence.”


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