Buncrana's Nora is GAA player of the month

A young Buncrana woman has been named Irish Independent / Lucozade Sport Ladies Player of the Month for June.

Twenty-five year old Nora Stapleton, who is a top gaelic, football and rugby player, won the honour for her sterling peformances against Armagh and Monaghan in the recent GAA ladies football qualifiers.

"I was actually a bit surprised when they phoned me up, I didn't believe them for a day or two," Nora told the 'Journal' yesterday. "It's not like you get told you've been nominated or anything. And, of course, we lost to Monaghan by a point. So I really was not expecting this to happen."

In fact Nora and her teammates are still smarting from the narrow defeat. "Monaghan went on to win the final against Tyrone, which is really frustrating, knowing that we were that close."

Despite the setback, Nora and her family are delighted with her achievement in winning the national Player of the Month title.

Nora's delighted mum Siobhan says, "It's very well-deserved. Nora has always been a very hardworking and talented player. As a mid-fielder she's not necessarily the one scoring all the goals, so it's especially nice to see her getting this recognition."

In addition to playing for the Donegal ladies GAA football team, Nora also lines out for Belvedere Rugby Club, na Fianna Dublin. She won a scholarship to UCD for her soccer skills and played in the European Cup.

Nowadays, Nora earns her living as a GAA Development Officer at Ballinteer St Johns. "It's a great job, you know, being able to do what you love for a living is just brilliant." She works with young people, introducing them to and developing their skills at football, hurling and handball. "At the moment, I'm working on all the summer camps, and that's quite a bit of fun."

She managed to get a day off on Tuesday, though, to allow her to pick up her trophy.

Nora's mother Siobhan, brother Michael and grandmother Iris Grant all travelled to Dublin for the presentation at Croke Park.

"They gave us a lovely three course meal after all the presentations and photographs. We got really nice 'swag bags' too, which were very much appreciated," Nora reports.

The organisers also, perhaps unintentionally, gave Nora an extra bit of motivation to go for another award. "One of the gifts we got was an All-Star jersey, but I haven't gotten to be an All-Star yet. So, I guess that's the next thing I'll have to go for!"