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Mixed emotions for Needham twins


FAMILY TIES Ciara Needham of University of Limerick, right, is consoled by her twin sister Tara of DCU after Saturday’s HEC O’Connor Cup Final. Pic: Sportsfile

Michael Gallagher

THEY’VE worn the black and amber of Louisburgh and the green and red of Mayo together over the years, but on Saturday last as the teams lined up before the biggest game in women’s inter-varsity football in Bekan, Tara Needham sported the yellow jersey of DCU and her twin sister Ciara was swathed in the white of UL.
The O’Connor Cup final was the first time the siblings had faced one another in a competitive match and a new experience for the sisters from the village of Culleen in Louisburgh.
“It was a funny one surely,” Tara told The Mayo News as she reflected on DCU’s historic success which denied UL three O’Connor Cups in a row.
“When we’ve been on the pitch together we’ve always been on the same team, but this was different. We were talking the night before, but didn’t say too much about the game, and we just wished each other luck. In fairness, it was just a game of football with us on two different sides. We sent each other a ’Good luck’ text before the game,” the Mayo star added.
DCU emerged victorious after an exciting final by 3-14 to 1-13 with both of the twins featuring on the scoresheet. Tara kicked a goal and a point for the winners while Ciara replied with a point from midfield for the dethroned champions.
“We played in different parts of the pitch for the most part, but at one stage she arrived beside me in our full-forward line and I said, ‘What are you doing here?’
“The two of us had a quick chat in the middle of an O’Connor Cup final, which says a lot about how close we are I suppose.”
The final whistle brought great joy to the DCU squad and management, but Tara took a moment to seek out her sister and commiserate with her.
“I was gutted for her. I was so delighted to win but sad for Ciara. It was bittersweet I suppose. “Our family and friends were there too and they had a great day. They were shouting for us more than either of the teams and it was lovely having everyone there,” the trainee teacher added before saying next year’s competition could be a defining one.
“Ciara won it last year with UL and we now have one apiece, so next year will be very interesting if we manage to get to the final stages,” she concluded with a smile.

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