Laois heroines honoured in GAA Book
Former Laois star Sue Ramsbottom is featured in a new book called Blood, Sweat, Triumph and Tears – Tales From The GAA by John Scally published by Black and White Publishing.
With Mayo’s Cora Staunton and Cork’s Juliet Murphy Sue is recognised as one of the greats of the modern game of ladies football. The long awaited All-Ireland senior medal finally came Sue’s way in 2001 when Laois beat Mayo in the All-Ireland final. However, her memories of that famous win are tinged with sadness because of the premature death of her teammate; the great Lulu Carroll, in 2007.
The Laois ladies of 2001 will be remembered forever as a superbly talented team, and Sue Ramsbottom and Lulu Carroll two of the great heroes.
Blood, Sweat, Triumph and Tears – Tales From The GAA is available now from all good bookshops.
Below are some of Sue’s memories of Lulu.
‘It was her persistence and nagging of our teacher, Mr Sayers, that led the way for girls to play on a boys national schools team. Lulu got a great kick out of saving penalties on the boys and would taunt them with: “Ah you couldn’t score a goal on a girl.” Lulu dreamed of playing in Croke Park on All-Ireland final day – which she did in 1988 against Kerry.
‘Lulu played in the forwards, midfields, backs and goals. Many people have done this before and many will do this in the future but the difference is, Lulu was brilliant in all these positions with All-Stars and replacement All-Stars to prove it. We had a wonderful time together on that journey to get an All-Ireland medal. Girls came and went but Lulu’s steely determination, focus and energy made sure her dream was realised.
‘The year 1996 was a great year for Lulu as the sports commentators commented that she was “the Liam McHale of ladies football with her long tanned legs”. It was also on the day of the final that Lulu got that marvelous equalizing goal for Laois in the last seconds, so, we could have another bite at the cherry.
‘It was in 2001 that the Laois Ladies won that famous All-Ireland. Not many people remember that Lulu got Player of the Match in the 2001 Leinster Final. This was the hardest game Laois faced and played on route to the All-Ireland in 2001. While all her team-mates lay down Lulu rose everybody else that day and ensured the dream was kept alive. Lulu was a real hero and only for her there would be no All-Ireland medal in Laois.
‘Lulu was a proud Timahoe and Laois woman and wore her jerseys with pride. When she finished playing for Timahoe she enjoyed coaching and passing on her skills and knowledge to the new kids on the block. She had eight county medals to her credit. I know the last County medal she won the year she died meant so much to her. The Timahoe club owes a great deal of gratitude to Lulu as a player and a manager, helping it to dizzy heights of reaching a club All-Ireland in 2000.
‘Lulu was the epicentre and the heart and soul of every team she played on. We will all play again some day with Lulu in the great pitch called heaven. The best of things come in one’s – one great friend, one Croke Park, one All-Ireland medal and one Lulu.’