Ger Siggins (Sunday Independent)
Sunday Independent editor Cormac Bourke presented the Aengus Fanning International Emerging Player of the Year award to Una Raymond-Hoey on Friday night.
It capped a great season for the Clontarf captain, who began playing aged 11 after club pro Rod Hokin turned up to coach in Greenlanes national school.
She joined the fabled Clontarf set-up run by Deryck Vincent and began playing on boys’ teams. The club struggled for some years and were relegated in 2015.
Raymond-Hoey spent two years at Leinster in Division 1 before returning to Castle Avenue, joining a renaissance under manager Fiona Manning and pro Kerry Tomlinson.
The season was crowned with the Senior Cup and Raymond-Hoey had a prolific season, scoring two fine centuries against YMCA.
With opening bat Clare Shillington about to retire, and other senior players believed to be mulling their future, Raymond-Hoey could be soon bedding down at the top of the Ireland order, adding to her eight caps to date.
She enjoys the role. “I think opening is a great challenge - you're very exposed and you're facing the best of the opposition's attack - so your technique is easily exposed against clever bowlers.”
The DCU student is in her third year of Sports Science and Health and says she “completely loves” her course.
“Sports science is a critical part of all professional sides now and it's a pretty exciting time to be involved in the industry. Some of the girls on the team have juggled their career with playing cricket - so I hope I'll always be able to follow both ambitions.
"I played a lot of sport when I was younger, so I still love playing tennis and watching basketball or GAA, although I think I've just about given up any dreams I had of playing in Croke Park!”