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Dancing with the Stars GAA style - 'I saved a horse, but not my knee!'

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Dancing with the Stars GAA style

As the ladies GAA teams around New York search for people to recruit to take part in Dancing With The Stars 2012, which will take place at the end of the summer, I decided to reflect on my own experience of dancing in the competition last year...

"Gonna rock this town tonight," were the last words of the song, and the grand finale of our dance - Stevie lifted me up and I threw my legs over his shoulders and he twisted me around. What was supposed to end in the perfect land on my two feet resulted in me twisting my knee. The only thing that was rocking then was the pain in my knee.

Stevie, my dance partner, had not noticed that I had just broken my leg (not really, but it felt like it) and proceeded to lift me up and started turning me around with joy that the dance was over and had been- what he thought was, a success. I tried to hold back the tears while hitting him and shouting at him to put me down.

He eventually did, and as he lowered me he realized something was wrong. Tommy Smyth, the MC, asked me was I OK. I smiled and said "yes" barely able to speak with the pain.

Backstage, I bawled my eyes out. I was after doing weeks of dance lessons along with my partner Stevie and six other couples, for that to happen on the night. So much time and effort had been put in to perfect our dances with the help of a dance instructor, as well as our own sessions that Stevie and I had put in.

"You can't go back on," Gary Dowd kept telling me. Everyone else was in agreement. My knee was swollen like a balloon and I was shaking with pain. "No way, I'm not giving up," I said, while wiping my face which was covered in mascara from crying.

Somebody ran to CVS and got tape for Nollaig, my physio, to strap my knee up. Gary sprayed this freezing stuff on my knee, I took some pain-killers and I had a Magners. I felt fine. (By the way- this was strictly a quick fix and generally should not be carried out.)

So we moved forward to the next round and we danced the waltz. There was nothing too strenuous in that dance and the knee was grand.

Four couples got through to the final stage- the freestyle. This proved a challenge as our dance was to the song, "Save a horse, ride a cowboy," and the dance basically consisted of jumps and lifts and flips. My four year-old cousin watched the video of my dance on Facebook, and the last time I was home in Ireland he said to me, "I saw you on the computer doing gymnastics with a boy." Perfect description.

Everyone thought I was mad in the head to go ahead and do it - which I am, but I am also stubborn and I didn't want to give up.

The dance could not have gone better - we nailed it. Every lift, flip, and jump we had worked so hard to perfect over the previous weeks had been done. I could not even feel my knee. I was just so happy I had completed all of our dances.

After all our hard work and effort, we did not win - the trophy was handed over to deserving winners - Caroline Murphy and Ronan McGinley. They did a cracking rendition of Michael Jackson's Thriller.

A great night was had by all who participated.

When I awoke the following morning, I could not move. I ended up in hospital the next day and I was given crutches.

But you know what, it was all worth it. It was an amazing experience. The entire event was so well ran. All the girls on the New York ladies team did so much organizing and planning for everything to go smoothly. We had so many generous sponsors involved, hairdressers and make-up artists on hand to beautify us all, a brill dance coach and phenomenal support. The goal was to raise money to help fund the New York ladies team on their trip to Ireland. More than enough money was raised.

What I took from the experience was all of the interesting and fun people I met. I would most certainly do something like it again, and I would advise anyone who is asked or thinking about doing it this year to go for it.

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