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Vikki Wall says life has changed after remarkable eight months

By Karl O'Kane

Vikki Wall says her life has “100percent changed” in eight remarkable months.

Wall (23) was front and centre as Meath staged a major coup, coming from intermediate football to land the All-Ireland senior title and deny Dublin a five-in-a-row.

The Dunboyne forward is now the most recognisable face in ladies GAA and recently helped Meath to land a League title to go with their first senior All-Ireland.

Speaking as she collected the Gaelic Writers’ Association, Ladies Football Personality of the Year award, in association with Wilson Hartnell PR (WHPR), Wall said: It has kind of been a bit of a roller coaster since the All-Ireland final.

“I think people were taken by the (Meath) story and obviously have responded to it. It’s got a lot of media attention at this stage.

“I think even for Meath ladies, the progress of our underage and just even the levels of participation within Meath have kind of skyrocketed almost.

“Just even seeing the crowds we are getting at league games this year.

“They are the bits that stand out more so than the trophies or anything like that.

“Even the girls in our own club in Dunboyne, the kind of backing that we have as a team now has probably been the most rewarding part.”

4,000 fans turned up for a League encounter with Dublin in Navan earlier this year in what was a real landmark day for Ladies GAA.

“I think it’s easy to get attendances on the big days, where if we are getting that sort of attendance at small games, that’s huge,” continued Wall.

“And it just gives even younger girls a chance to see, ‘I can be playing for a Meath team that has good support.’

“I think in previous years it was just our parents and siblings and stuff to be honest at games. It is just great to have that support at games.

“It makes all the difference, that atmosphere on a game day like that.”

Wall still isn’t used to the limelight: “I suppose it’s definitely a bit bizarre,” she said.

“I wouldn’t say I’m used to it now at all.

“It still kind of comes as a bit of a shock.

“Again, I think it comes back to the hype of those games (last year). Even after the game there on Saturday (Leinster Championship win over Dublin) at Parnell Park people were queueing up to get pictures of everyone on the team.

“People are kind of idolising the entire team.

“It’s great, especially for young girls to have those kind of role models and it’s so close to home for a lot of them in Meath as well.”

Meath play Westmeath this weekend and if they win it will be Dublin again in the Leinster final.

They could even meet again in the All-Ireland series, with the potential for four meetings this year.

“I don’t think it will be the last time we have played Dublin,” said Wall.

“I think we will definitely be meeting them again.

“Once, if not more than that. Every time we play them there is only a kick of a ball between us, so for both of us and I think spectators as well, they are the type of games you want to be involved in.

“You want to be constantly learning and pushing yourselves so yeah, it’s great.

“We are learning every game we play. We hadn’t played them competitively since 2016, up until the All-Ireland final last year.

“Now we’ve played them three times in the space of a few months. It's great for both teams really.

“I think that narrative (Dublin/Meath) has always been there in football, whether it’s men or women.

“I think now we have that going in the ladies side of things.

"It absolutely does help to push that narrative and that kind of competition, that rivalry that people know, regardless of the gender of the sport.”

Vikki Wall has been named Gaelic Writers’ Association (GWA) Ladies Football Personality of the Year, in association with WHPR.

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