“A national title is great but at the end of the day it’s the All Ireland championship that you really want to nail down” - P𝘄C POTM winners McConville & Kennedy have eyes on more silverware

“A national title is great but at the end of the day it’s the All Ireland championship that you really want to nail down” - P𝘄C POTM winners McConville & Kennedy have eyes on more silverware

Armagh’s Lauren McConville and Tipperary captain Karen Kennedy are the April winners of the PwC GPA Women’s Player of the Month awards in football and camogie, with both playing a fundamental role in their respective teams’ league successes.

Yet, even with that silverware secured, neither are satisfied with their haul just yet, and are looking forward to the chaos that the championship is destined to bring.

They’ll be hoping that there are more waves of big days out to ensue yet this summer, and with a provincial championship final against old rival Donegal up next for McConville and co, there surely couldn’t be a better way to kickstart that run.


“The league was fantastic, but championship is here and we’re buzzing for it,” the Orchard County woman says, off the back of Armagh’s first ever Division One NFL LGFA title in their history.

With Donegal’s men’s team having overcome Armagh on penalties in their equivalent final last weekend, there’s also an added layer of drama to the clash.


McConville, of esteemed GAA pedigree, will be looking to avenge her first cousins James Morgan and Oisin & Rian O'Neill in that regard, to make good on their “heartbreaking” encounter in Clones.

“I was obviously there myself so we’ll just be hoping that we’re not feeling the same this Sunday. I was so proud of my cousins and I thought they did really, really well, but it's just so unfortunate when you don't get over the line in games like that but I'm sure they will learn from it and they’ll bounce back,” McConville recounts.

“Hopefully we can go on and do it for them now in our own final. It’s been a long enough stint now from the league final so we're looking forward to getting stuck in to championship football. We’ve never had an easy game with Donegal and we expect nothing different this time around.

“It’s going to be a battle and yeah look just hopefully we can come out on the right side of it but it’s going to take a massive effort.”

Her collection of the PwC GPA Football Player of the Month award, the second successive Armagh woman to do so, is surely testament to just how much drive the outfit have to do so.

With over 100 games for her county under her belt now, McConville is now a legend in her own right within the sport, and has seen “massive development”, both on and off the field, since she first burst onto the panel.

“I suppose there’s been plenty of changes,” she says.

“We have our own training ground now which is something that not other many counties have, so that means we know where we’re going to be training week to week or night to night and you’re not waiting on a text message at 4 o'clock in the evening to try and get a pitch, so we’re really lucky that way.

“We have a great county board and a great chairperson so anything we ask for we really do get and we’re very well looked after you know and it’s maybe not just something that we would have been able to get right when I started out so we’re very much in a better position now and we’ve the county board to thank for that.”

Describing their last outing on a big stage, the league final versus Kerry in Croke Park, as “a great spectacle”, the Armagh women will aspire to replicate that outcome this weekend.

Tipperary’s Karen Kennedy and her team will have a similar hankering, even if they find themselves already out of the running for the Munster championship this year.

They fell victim to last year’s All Ireland finalists, Waterford, in the semi final, although that blip has left them with a “huge amount of stuff to build on” as the Thurles Sarsfields club woman outlines.

“It was a huge honour to captain the county to a national title and it was just great to do it with such an special bunch of players,” she says, “ but after it we were straight back into business.”

“A national title is great but at the end of the day it’s the All Ireland championship that you really want to nail down,” she adds.

Not to underestimate that win however, a less than casual 1-3 from play in the league final saw her collect the PwC GPA Camogie Player of the Month award.

It also has added another bolt to the energy around camogie within the county, as has the general hype around other camogie teams, ensuring the sport continues to soar.

“There are so many teams competing at such a high level, it's great for the sport. It mightn’t be great for us when we're playing in it, but it is great for the competition and for people watching as well that the games are getting more competitive,” Kennedy says.

“There are probably six or seven teams at such a high level now which is great and it’s expanding the sport to different counties as well.

“Even with Tipp the last few weeks it’s probably gotten more exposure than it has even just a few years ago so I'm sure it's like that with the other counties too. It’s great to grow the sport and the competition as well.”

With that increased hype though comes more scrutiny too, with the recent defeat of a motion around the switching of skorts for shorts garnering plenty of media attention.

It’s a notion that players and the association continue to grapple with, and Kennedy putting forward that the next step forward is to “get feedback from the players as a whole.”

“We’re the ones going out wearing them so we have to deal with them. Just from talking to players in Tipp and different areas too, I think the general consensus is that we would like the option to wear shorts,” she says.

“Even looking at our training sessions, or even looking at us playing matches I’m sure it's just us fixing skorts for the whole match whenever there's a break in play. They’re not the most comfortable! It’s something that we'd like to just see go back to the players and get their opinion on them and see how it goes from there,” she adds.

What did others had to say about the PwC POTM winners McConville & Kennedy?

Alongside Shane O’Donnell and Ryan McHugh who were named the PwC GAA/GPA Players of the Month in hurling and football for April, McConville and Kennedy received plenty of high praise for their services to their teams over the last period.

Managing Partner at PwC Ireland Enda McDonagh remarked how “April has seen an incredible display of talent across all codes throughout the country with the beginning of Championships as well as the climax of some enthralling league campaigns,” and spoke of how “PwC is honoured to partner with the GAA and GPA to support players from all codes and on behalf of everyone at PwC, I would like to give our warmest congratulations to Lauren, Karen, Shane and Ryan on being named the April Player of the Month award winners.”

Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael, Jarlath Burns, also reflected on the “fantastic games over the course of the month of April with superb individual performances – none more so than those produced by Lauren, Karen, Shane and Ryan.”

“Lauren and Karen were both hugely influential in Armagh and Tipperary’s league successes in football and camogie respectively, and similarly Shane and Ryan shone in the excellent form shown by Clare and Donegal in their hurling and football outings. I wish them all well in their endeavours in the weeks – and possibly months – ahead and thank PwC and the GPA for their support of these important awards,” he adds.

Finally, GPA CEO, Tom Parsons, also shared his best wishes.

“What makes these awards so significant is that they are voted on by players and that recognition by fellow players is special. So, congratulations to Karen, Lauren, Ryan and Shane on your outstanding performances in the month of April,” he says.

“Thank you to PwC for your ongoing support for inter-county players. As a current player I can assure you that it is very much appreciated. And thank you to the GAA for your partnership in this awards scheme.”

The PwC GPA Women’s Player of the Month and PwC GAA/GPA Players of the Month Award winners are voted for by the GPA’s membership.

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PwC are proud sponsors of the Player of the Month Awards across camogie, hurling and football, both men’s and women’s. The PwC GAA/GPA Player of the Month Awards and the PwC GPA Women’s Player of the Month Awards recognise and profile outstanding performances by players across all Gaelic codes throughout the championship season.

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