Vikki Wall in full flight with Meath colleagues Aoibheann Leahy and Emma Duggan in support.

Life has changed '100 per cent' says Wall

Meath football star Vikki Wall says her life has "100 per cent changed" since she and her colleagues defeated Dublin to win the Ladies All-Ireland SFC final last September.

“It (life) has 100 percent changed. It has kind of been a bit of a roller coaster since the All-Ireland final," said Wall who was speaking today after she was named the Gaelic Writers' Association Ladies Football Personality of the Year. The awards will be presented tomorrow evening.

“I think people were kind of taken by the story and obviously have responded to it. It got a lot of media attention at this stage," added the Dunboyne player who has picked up a number of awards in recent months including the Meath Chronicle Sports Personality of the Year accolade for 2021.

“I think even for Meath ladies and the progress of our underage and just even the levels of participation within Meath have kind of skyrocketed almost and just even seeing the crowds we are getting at league games this year.

“They are kind of the bits that stand out more so than the trophies or anything like that.

“Even the girls in our own club in Dunboyne, the kind of backing that we have as a team now has probably been the most rewarding part.”

Wall outlined how one of the fall-outs of her team's success is the big crowds that are now showing up for games. Earlier this year a crowd of 5,000 attended the Ladies NFL Div 1 clash between Meath and Dublin at Pairc Tailteann.

“I think that’s something if we can kind of change those small bits rather than just getting attendances on the big days.

“I think it’s easy to get attendance on the big days where if we are getting that sort of attendances at small games, that’s huge and just give even I think younger girls a chance to see, ‘I can be playing for the Meath team that has good support.

“I think in previous years it was just our parents and siblings and stuff to be honest at games. It is just great to have that support at games.

“It makes all the difference, that atmosphere on a game day like that.”

Since the All-Ireland triumph Wall and other Meath players have found themselves in constant demand but she says she still not used to all the media attention.

“I suppose it’s definitely a bit bizarre. I wouldn’t say I’m used to it now at all. It still kind of comes as a bit of a shock.

“Again, I think it comes back to the hype of those games (last year). Even after the game there on Saturday at Parnell Park people were queueing up to get pictures of everyone on the team."

“People are kind of idolising the entire team. It’s great, especially for young girls to have those kind of role models and it’s so close to home for a lot of them in Meath as well.”

She says she is learning from every game she plays with matches against Dublin particularly instructive.

“I don’t think it will be the last time we have played Dublin. I think we will definitely be meeting them again."

“Once, if not more than that. Every time we play them there is only a kick of a ball between us, so for both of us and I think spectators as well, they are the type of games you want to be involved in."

“You want to be constantly learning and pushing yourselves so yeah, it’s great."

“We are learning every game we play. We hadn’t played them competitively since 2016, up until the All-Ireland final last year."

“Now we’ve played them three times in the space of a few months, it's great for both teams really.”

Wall was asked if she thought the intense Meath v Dublin rivalry was helping ladies football.

“I think so. I think that narrative has always been there in football, whether it’s men or women."

“I think now we kind of have that going in the ladies' side of things and it absolutely does help to push that narrative and that kind of competition, the rivalry that people know regardless of the gender of the sport.”

Now well established as one of the best forwards around Wall is naturally the focus of opposition defences. Dealing with that reality is just part of the new reality she adds.

“I think I am kind of used to it at this stage. I think I have definitely got a bit more closely marked after last year."

“I think if you are trying to push yourself you are going to be dealing with different things. I don’t think it’s something that people haven’t dealt with before."

“I think it’s going to be something that a lot of our players are going to be coming up against in the next while.”