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Meath’s Gillian Bennett Named Irish Independent/Lucozade Sport Player of the Month

Meath’s Gillian Bennett Named Irish Independent/Lucozade
Sport Player of the Month for April

Meath captain Gillian Bennett gained a measure of compensation
today (Tuesday, May 9th) for last weekend’s narrow defeat in
the National League Division One final when she was named the Irish
Independent/Lucozade Sport Player of the Month for April. Bennett
was both an inspirational leader and an outstanding score-getter
from play and from frees as Meath qualified for their first ever
league final.

Lining out at full forward last Saturday night in Parnell Park
she was the game’s top scorer with seven points as Meath produced
an outstanding performance against all-conquering Cork. Aged 27
and playing with the Moynalty club, Bennett first made her mark
with Meath when she was a substitute on the team that won the All-Ireland
Junior Championship in 1994. During that period she divided her
time between football and soccer, gaining international caps with
the Republic of Ireland at under-16, under-18 and at senior level.
She emigrated to the United States in 1998 and played football with
the Cavan club. “The fact that I was from Meath and chose to
play football with Cavan certainly raised a few eyebrows in both
New York and back home,’ she recalls.

Gillian receiving her award in Croke Park

Returning home in 2001 to work with Midland Waste in
Navan, she resumed her football career and has been a central figure
behind the rise of Meath as a major player in the ladies’ game.
She is not surprised at the progress made by the team this year. “When
we got together in December we targeted the league final. We knew
we had the potential to get that far at least. There were a couple
of tough days on the way but the team showed character as well as
ability. “We have a good blend in the squad, players as young
as 16 as well as some like myself who have been around for a while.
There has always been a lot of talent around and it was just a question
of getting it right. Hopefully we are doing that now. “Naturally
we were disappointed not to win the league final but we have learned
from it.


The target now has to be the Leinster title.” Winning this
award ranks as one of the highlights of her career. “I was
speechless when I was told,” she says. “We have a lot
of players who have made a huge contribution to our run to the league
final so I am really honoured.”

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