AN INTERVIEW WITH MONAGHAN STALWART CATRIONA BRADY WHO WILL BE TAKING TO THE FIELD OF CROKE PARK ON SUNDAY FOR NEW YORK
There will be one person who will be hoping for double celebrations on Sunday, and that is Catriona Brady. Catriona Brady was a member of the victorious 96 and 97 Monaghan teams, but this Sunday she lines out for New York in the Junior decider. I rang Catriona at her New York home during the week. Forgetting about the time difference, it was a very early morning call, but once the topic was about football, Catriona was only to willing to enter conversation.
Catriona played for Monaghan from 1995 to 2006 with her last match against Laois in the championship quarter final, where she played midfield. Catriona expressed how disappointed she felt that day, because she sort of knew that was her last performance with Monaghan. She never thought after her days with Monaghan that she would get another chance to play in Croke Park, and she pointed out that that is why this New York experience is so special. I asked what her best memories of Croke Park were, and she was very quick to state that first All Ireland win over Laois in 1996. The first game ended in a draw which made winning the second day even more magical. I asked how the standard of football in America compared to here. Catriona felt that the standard is just as high as back home. Unfortunately there are not the same amount of teams, with only 5 in total. But the same amount of training and commitment is required. The fact that 3 summer sanctions per team are allowed, ups the standard all round. Several of the New York girls have county experience along with herself, notably captain Molly O Rourke who played for Waterford and has An All Star for her efforts. Michelle Brennan and Imelda Mullarkey also have Croke Park experience. However she stated that Sunday would be a particularly special for the American girls, many how have never seen Croke Park on match day. I suggested that Sunday would be just as special for her especially that Monaghan were in the senior final. She said she was ecstatic that Monaghan have made it to Croke Pak too. She believes this their year. She felt they looked amazing against Kerry, the best she has ever seen them play. Their fitness in unbelievable, a real credit to their hard work. She has no doubt at all that they will take the game to Cork. Their pace and composure on the ball was a pleasure to watch and they all link up brilliantly. She has full confidence that they will win on Sunday. She also pointed out that the 6 Monaghan forwards have been outstanding this year and that Sharon Courtney as captain has been exceptional, expertly marshalling the defence who have also been in great form. Moving away from the football end of things I asked what her plans were for the weekend and would she be spending some time at home afterwards in Aghabog. She pointed out that they were landing in Dublin on Thursday morning. Their main priority will be getting themselves hydrated and rested from the flight, with jet lag being a major concern. They will be meeting up with family in Dublin over the course of the weekend also, but need to be careful not to lose focus. Unfortunately, they won’t get a chance to go home this time, like they did on their last trip. Their banquet is in the Louis Fitzgerald on Sunday night with their family and friends and then its fly out again on the Monday evening flight please God with the cup in hand. Before I finished, I asked had she any words of advice for the Monaghan girls. She said that they should enjoy every minute of it, savour all the small things but don’t let it daunt you. Play the same style of football that they have been playing all year. If they do this, she has not doubt that there will be a cup heading back to Monaghan after the final.
It was great to have the opportunity to chat to Catriona and I know that just as she is fully behind the Monaghan girls on Sunday. We would like to let her know publicy here that we will be fully behind her too, and we take this opportunity to wish her and her New York team mates the very best of luck on Sunday.