"She is a motivation for me" - Nemo Rangers' Luke Connolly on his international soccer sister

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"She is a motivation for me" - Nemo Rangers' Luke Connolly on his international soccer sister


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Luke Connolly is facing into the biggest match of his gaelic football career but when he takes to the hallowed turf at Croke Park on St Patrick's Day there is no danger of him folding with the nerves.

The 25-year-old Nemo Rangers corner forward will be hoping that he can continue his incredible run of club championship scoring form in the All-Ireland final against Connacht champions, and 2015 winners, Corofin.

Connolly notched 2-5 in the semi-final against Slaughtneil after a 10-point haul in the Munster final against defending All-Ireland champions Dr Crokes and Luke will be hoping he can show a cool hand in the big one.

“I’ll be perfectly honest, when it comes to sport, I don’t get nervous in a sense," Connolly told OffTheBall.com's Stephen Doyle. "I think it’s more, this is what I love to do. We train every day to do this so I never really got nerves, it was more excitement. That kind of nervous tension but it was excitement. It wasn’t a case of, ‘oh my God, what am I going to do today?’ It was more ‘oh my God I can’t wait to get out there!’

“To be perfectly honest I have a sister who plays soccer. I’d be more nervous for her playing than I would me. I couldn’t watch her games but I’d happily go out and play in front of sixty-thousand at Croke Park. If she was playing in front of ten people out in the park, I’d be nervous for her more so than myself.

"It’s just something that I never developed. You might call it cockiness, you might call it arrogance...I just think it’s belief. I don’t get nervous and I enjoy every minute of playing football because the way the game’s going now your career doesn’t last long. The pace of the game is evolving. This could be our only chance to play in Croke Park in an All-Ireland final. It’s about embracing it, it’s not about being anxious."

When asked Connolly confirms that his sister is Megan Connolly, the Republic of Ireland international who has been plying her trade in the USA since 2015.

Megan, 21, has returned to the senior Irish set-up having completed her studies in Florida where she has been playing for top university side Florida State Seminoles.

“It is Megan! So you can understand the nerves I’d have when she’s playing! If she was playing in the morning I’d be sick to my stomach! There was a few years there when Megan was probably the leading light in the family. I’ve managed to wrestle that title back the past twelve months, she’s had a quiet year,” chuckles Connolly.

His younger sister was back recently to cheer him on in the All-Ireland semi-final win over Slaughtneil and her own success, including the key part she played in the Girls in Green reaching the semi-finals of the 2014 UEFA Under-19 Championships, is something that inspires Luke.

“What Megan has achieved is outstanding at such a young age. I wouldn’t say I look up to her but she is a motivation for me, to match what she’s achieving and it is great to have her doing so well. I’ve always said, I’d happily swap my career to see her success. As much as I’d love to win an All-Ireland, if I had to swap it to see her go on and have an excellent career I’d happily do it in a heartbeat.”

With Nemo Rangers well equipped to win their first All-Ireland in 15 years and the Irish women's team unbeaten after three games of their bid to qualify for the 2019 World Cup in France, sitting joint-top of Group 3 with the Dutch - there is every chance there will be two leading lights of sport in the Connolly household by the end of 2018!


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