Staying at home with his county team coach, strength and conditioning expert, Westmeath footballer Vicky Carr thrived during the summer lockdown, hoping to boost the family’s sporting reputation in Sunday’s TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate final.
Vicky’s father Tommy Carr is part of the Westmeath management team led by Sean Finnegan, and they face Meath in Sunday’s Croke Park clash.
Tommy captained Dublin to the 1992 Leinster title, handling Dublin, Roscommon and Cavan, but more recently focusing on the ladies game.
Many players will not have the experience of the All-Ireland final day with a family in 2020, so Carr is happy to have brought his father so close.
“Daddy’s been involved as a coach, so it’s amazing to have him with me. Sometimes I think he’s a little difficult for me, but I know he’s only trying to improve me as a player,” Vicky said of the third season as a county senior.
“He stopped playing before I was born, but when I was young I was a manager. I ‘ve heard a lot of stories about the days he had, and I’ ve seen some of his matches, so I know how involved he was.
“He’s been involved with a few good teams for the last few years, but he’s really been involved when I’m young. But he’s very happy to be with our team now.
“He went through it and he knows exactly what it takes to play sports at a high level, so I’m glad he was able to bring his experience to the whole set.”
Cars seems to have started a variety of sporting adventures from the Mallinger family. Vicky’s brother Simon plays tennis on the ATP circuit, her sister Elizabeth is one of the best triathletes in the country, her second brother Gareth is a golfer, and has represented Westmeath in the senior inter-county arena.
The 19-year-old does not deny Vicky’s sports pedigree. Growing up, she was given most of the sports available for a shot at one point or another, but found her natural home until she started playing football.
Sports have always been a big part of our lives. From a young age we have always been involved in sports. When we were young we were always motivated to play something. We all train very hard now and we are all very competitive. We are all very involved in the sport of our choice.
“For me, I only started playing gallic when I was 12. After that I played it all the time. As a kid I used to play tennis. I tried golf, swimming and running … I tried them all, but it wasn’t really limited to one of them until I started playing football. I loved football and remained in it.
“Looking at Elizabeth, the training she does for triathlon is very interesting. She goes cycling for three hours a day, and then she goes for a run. She throws all sorts of distances. Then she has to swim. There are so many things to balance. You have to train a lot to succeed in it.
🏆 TG4TV The All-Ireland Intermediate & Senior Finals curtain falls in a remarkable 2020
– Ladies Football (ad Ladies Football) December 15, 2020
St. Lomon’s player Vicky and her Westmeath team members have been training for the game for over a year after being knocked out of the senior ranks in 2019 after a play – off defeat to Cavan and Monaghan.
Going down to play Intermediate for the first time disappointed the car, but after winning the championship by defeating the strong Lid Division 1 campaign and Longford, Loth and Rosscommon, they say the team is happy with their progress, especially with a maiden shooting at Croke Park at the end of the year.
“I’m trying not to think about it anymore. It’s just a football match at the end of the day, but it’s great, I’m looking forward to it.
“Playing at Croke Park is great for everyone, the stadium is huge, it’s incredible, I really want to play there. It’s weird to see it empty, but I’m excited about it.
“After our semi – final victory over Roscommon, we were disappointed with the overall performance. We felt we did not play to the best of our ability, but Roscommon really put it in front of us and put us under pressure and challenged.
“Those lucky goals we got were important and in the end they overtook us. We are happy to have won an All-Ireland semi-final, but we know we have a lot of work to do after that and we have been working very hard since that game in training.
“Everyone really increased it. We were moving forward with each other. It’s amazing. It’s extremely competitive. We look forward to the next few days before the final.”
The intermediate decider sees the teams coming into the game from opposite directions, and many experts in the game are amazed at the potential outcome.
Meath was promoted from the third division of the league last year and has been ranked second this season. They lost to consecutive Intermediate Finals, but returned to the decision for the third year in a row after a crushing victory over Claire.
After spending eight years in the top tier, Westmeath will be dropped from the senior and play Division 1 football in 2021. They swallowed Longford by nine goals earlier in the match. The last day against Roscoman.
Meath is undoubtedly a team, but will Westmeath’s latest senior experience suspend their graduation for another year?
“We looked at the meats and we saw some of their games. We know exactly what they are about. They have a very good side, they are strong, physical and fast.
“We know they’re ready for it in the last few years. They ‘ve been using it for big days like this since reaching the finals in the last few years. But we know, get ready for them, it’s going to be a tough battle.