Killygarry ace Cahill fronting national ad campaign


A couple of weeks ago, Ally Cahill was driving through Phibsborough when a bus pulled out in front of her – and there she was! The Killygarry and Cavan footballer is the star of a new nationwide advertising campaign on behalf of Lidl, promoting their sponsorship of the LGFA leagues and championships.

“I was driving in Dublin and a bus pulled out in front of me and it was there on the back of the bus. It’s so weird, it doesn’t actually feel like it’s me,” Ally told the Anglo-Celt this week.

“It’s on a few of the Dublin buses, my family have seen them as well. It is strange!”

The 21-year-old midfielder/forward has been a Lidl ambassador for over a year now but when the call came to front this campaign – which includes billboards and a major television ad – she was surprised to be front and centre.

“I started working with Lidl last year, in January, they just contacted me and asked if I’d like to be an ambassador working with them along with five other ambassadors.

“Of course, I said ‘yeah’ and I’ve been working with them now for the last year. It wasn’t too long ago, they contacted me to say they were filming an ad and asked if I’d like to be the main part.

“I was like, ‘yeah!’, so that’s really how it came about and then we filmed in November.

“Before that I was attending launches and posting on social media and just promoting ladies football, that’s what the role kind of is.

“I wasn’t expecting (to be the star of this campaign) to say the least because the Dublin captain is in there as well as one of the ambassadors. I definitely wasn’t expecting it but I was delighted to be asked.

“I’m happy with how it came out, it’s a great storyline and a great ad.”

Ally Cahill on a billboard in Virginia.

The television ad features close-ups of Cahill driving towards goal with the ball and being spurred on by the fans. It is very professionally produced and has been warmly received.

“It took three days altogether. It was one day down in Glendalough and another day in Parnell Park. They were long days, one day was 12 hours, and cold, but it was worth it.”

She had no acting experience beforehand but enjoyed the shoot.

“Oh God, no. Not at all. I didn’t have a clue what I was getting myself in for!” she smiles.

“It was very planned out, everything was planned to a tee. It was ‘do this, do that’. But they were very easy-going.

“I was saying ‘we are going to have to do this again’ and at times I was laughing but they were so nice. We did everything loads of times.”

Why does she feel she was selected to front the campaign from all of the outstanding ladies footballers in the country?

“That’s a good question, I have been asking myself that. I’m not really sure, I think it might be because I’m one of the younger girls and maybe they wanted to show young girls coming up. I’m guessing, maybe it was something like that.

“And maybe because I’m from Cavan and we might be forgotten sometimes.”

She’s been surprised that the coverage has been so wall-to-wall but it’s a lovely novelty and has caught the imagination of friends, relations and strangers alike.

“I definitely didn’t think it would be this much. I was told it would be on TV and a few billboards but I didn’t expect it to be this big.

“Loads of people have contacted me about it, my family and friends have been so supportive and I’m sure they find it weird seeing me up there as well because I’d be the last person to do something like that. I’ve had loads of texts and videos, which is great. Hopefully that’s promoting it.”

Playing her part in promoting ladies football and women’s sport in general is also something that Cahill, a final year Occupational Therapy student in the University of Ulster, has found satisfying.

“It’s great, Lidl have been brilliant for supporting ladies football. It’s quite a powerful ad, it really shows what support can do for young girls and ladies playing and what a difference it can make on the day when there’s support there. It’s amazing to be involved and I definitely feel very privileged and honoured to be involved in it.”

Ally is currently part of the Cavan senior football panel, although she missed out on the first few games due to college commitments.

“I was away there on a placement, I’m back now, I’ve re-joined them. I’ve a bit of a niggle, hopefully I’ll be back in the next couple of weeks. It’s going well, it’s a completely new team and management.

“They got a win there the other week so it’s going in the right direction I think.”

Having captained her club to the senior final already at this early stage in her career, maybe Lidl spotted her leadership qualities?

“I definitely am not one for talking, maybe the way I play on the pitch. Maybe Lidl saw something, I’m not sure!”

A former stand-out soccer player with Bohemians, she hopes to return to that code at some stage in the future.

“I played a bit for the college the last two years but not really. I played soccer, basketball, I did swimming for ages and won a few good medals in swimming.

“I miss the soccer a lot but I hope some day I’ll be able to get back, it’s just so hard to manage both of them, especially with college. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to it, it’s a great sport.”

What next for her burgeoning acting career?

“I think they do an ad every couple of years so there won’t be another ad for a while. We haven’t been told what is coming up this year, I’d say there will be a few more launches this year but this is probably the big campaign for this year, it will go on for a couple of months.”