*TIME FOR HIBERNATION – PART 1*
So after a fabulous season we say goodbye to 3 Bears who have now announced their retirement. As long term players we wanted to write them all a piece as an ode to them and all they’ve done for the club.
As an extra little thing we asked some of the players closest to them to write the article for us ☺️
So here’s Part 1 – #55 Leigh Maguire written by Megan Delaney 💙🐻
The Bears ended the season undefeated, 8-0 and queens of division 2 north, giving us the promotion to division one. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic of covid19 we couldn’t push for the gold on finals day, meaning the last game played in Cardiff would be the last for a few players including #55 Leigh Maguire.
I remember the day Leigh came down to training for the first time, she was a bit quiet and shy … I can’t believe I have just said those words about Leigh because now I can’t shut her up at training! Like a lot of people that play this sport or even a contact sport for the first time, she struggled getting to grips but put in her everything into the positions she learnt over the years. And this season was one of the key members in gaining the promotion to Division One for next year.
Back in the days of 5 a side and Romans Ladies football, Leigh started her career off as an outside linebacker, a position that she really excelled at and made it her own. Playing the other outside linebacker I knew I could count on her to stop the run and either make the tackle or send the running back into the centre of the field for team mates to make the tackle. She was also good at manning her zone in the passing game and shutting down any players that came into her zone. Leigh played a critical part in the final game of the season against East Kilbride Pirates which we could have easily lost but due to a huge team effort we pulled off the win. The next season due to injuries she never played as much as the previous season, but still had some impactful performances and we pulled off a silver medal winning season.
Then saw the introduction of 7 a side and both of us moving to line positions. Leigh quickly took up a vital role on the offensive line, taking over the centre spot. She formed an amazing bond with the rest of the o line and her offensive team mates. This bond, hard work and focus she put in made it hard for defensive lineman to get through and make a play in the backfield.
Leigh was one of the fundamental committee members as Treasurer, in transitioning the team to The Bears and the team we are today. She took a year out of playing for personal reasons but gave so much of her time off the field to make the team run smoothly and we had everything we needed as players and coaches. Even on game day she was everyone’s personal cheerleader and turned up early to braid everyone’s hair. And she was a vital Game Day Manager.
This season she rolled the dice once more and gambled on the defensive line, along with still being a valued member of the committee. In my eyes the gamble more than paid off; as I have never saw more fight and determination in her eyes and the want to help her team. She is not a selfish player, does her job, helps out on tackles and helps out coaching rookies too. On her last play in her last game she did her job, fooled the oline, managed to get in the QBs face and forced her to throw an interception. A great last play for a great lasting legacy.
Over the years as a coach, team mate, fellow committee member and close friend what an honour it has been to spend the last six together on and off the field making all those memories. You have helped this team to be amazing and have helped me be who I am today. All the best for the future #55 you absolute queen.
Photos courtesy of keziah takes photos and Photos by Furfie