This Sunday, the Kilkenny Camogie team will line out in Croke Park, attempting to defend their Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League crown. Standing in their way will be a fierce Galway side, so we are set for a cracking encounter!
Kilkenny will be striving for 4 in a row, as they have dominated the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie Leagues over recent years. Lining out for them will be one of their key players, Anne Dalton. The 5-time All-Star winner knows all too well what success tastes like, but this Sunday will be more significant to her as it’s not just a Camogie Final Day, it is also Mother’s Day.
Last year, Anne and her partner Karen became mothers for the first time, to their little boy Tadhg. For Anne, becoming a mother was a whole new experience that she will never forget.
“For me, it was both exciting and terrifying. I didn’t have any real experience with babies before and all of a sudden I was responsible for my own! After a day or two – or a couple of nappies – it becomes less scary. You just want to do your best for them to keep them safe and happy.”
Having to juggle both commitments to the Kilkenny Camogie team and motherhood has brought a lot of change into Anne’s life, but it is something that she manages well.
“I keep saying the biggest change is that I now watch less TV! Recently I have had to start sharing my fruit when eating snacks! But obviously, there have been bigger changes than that – although it is hard to pinpoint them because it’s hard to remember what my life was like before we had Tadhg. A big thing I notice is that when I am chatting to someone and he is in the room with me, I will always look at him every few seconds at least to make sure he is OK. I reckon the biggest change is that now someone else’s needs are more important than my own.”
“The biggest challenge for me is when I have training after work and have to leave the house early in the morning knowing that he will be asleep by the time I get home. I am currently on leave from work for a few months to look after him so this isn’t an issue at the moment but when I return to work in the summer there will be days when I only see him for an hour or so. I suppose the main thing is to enjoy the time I am with him – put down the phone, turn off the TV and chat to him without any distractions.”
And of course, the birth of Tadhg as only changed Anne’s life for the better.
“Without sounding too cheesy, I have to say there are so many good things about becoming a mum. When he was born he used to “chat” away in his sleep – it sounded like he was chatting or mumbling to himself in his sleep. I used to love falling asleep listening to this. Now he is getting older, he is a lot more alert. I love his laugh. I will do anything to make him laugh! Even if it means I have to make an eejit of myself! I will even try waltz with him to get a smile – although I think this makes my wife laugh more than Tadhg because of my two left feet!”
“As I was saying, I am currently on leave from work until the summer to look after him. I am really enjoying this leave because I am getting to spend so much time with him. When I return to work I know I will have to prioritise certain things more than others for the few months as I will be in the middle of the Camogie Championship. I suppose the important thing is time management and being organised, packing gear bags and lunch when Tadhg is in bed so I can spend as much time with him as possible when he is awake!”
So, can we expect to see Tadhg lining out for the Kilkenny hurlers in the near future?
“If I have a choice, he will be togging out for Barcelona in the champions league in 20 years’ time! But seriously, I don’t mind what he ends up doing as long as he enjoys it and works hard to be the best he can be, whether that’s hurling, soccer, music or art. While I would love him to be interested in sports, if he isn’t it’s not the end of the world as long as there is something he is passionate about and prepared to work hard for!”
The Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League Division One Final between Kilkenny and Galway will take place this weekend in Croke Park as part of a triple-header alongside the Allianz Hurling and Football League Finals. Throw in is a 12pm and it will be broadcast live on TG4. For more information about ticket purchases, please click here. Follow Littlewoods Ireland on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for live updates of the day! #StyleOfPlay