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September 22nd, 2011


In 2002 at the age of 16, Therese Mc Nally was a substitute on the Monaghan team that lost out to Mayo by a single point. I talked to Therese during the week and asked her how she felt about Sunday’s game and if she thought she was better prepared for this game.
She said that looking back to 2002, she knows her mental attitude on the d
ay wasn’t right. She recalls buying a disposable camera to capture images of the day, and being in awe of everything about Croke Park, from the Garda escort to the dressing rooms, the warm up area and the crowd. She cringes as she recalls snapping photos throughout the game whilst in the dug out. Losing to Mayo didn’t have the same impact on her as it would have had on the more senior players. 2008 was different for her. Being more experience, the whole hype prior to the game didn’t have just the same impact on her. She felt that quite a few of the younger players probably experienced what she did in 2002 and were in awe of the whole occassion. Now 3 years on and facing Cork once again, Therese believes Cork will be out in full force having lost out to Tyrone last year. However, she believes that this Monaghan team and management are well prepared for the battle ahead and are fully determined to bring the Brendan Martin cup back to Monaghan for the first time since 1997. 

One thing is certain, and that is Therese won’t have her disposable camera with her this Sunday. The photos will be left to the professionals and hopefully they will be capturing a photo of the Brendan Martin cup in Monaghan hands – A photo Therese will be onlybe too glad to add to her collection.

Therese has been in outstanding form all year, winning Player of the Match award in the Ulster final, and just recently being awarded Irish News Ulster All Star award for ladies football. Her work rate on the field has been phenominal, and if she repeats her performances on Sunday, Cork will have a big worry on their hands.


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 committment 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 unbelieveable, 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 brillliantly. 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 marchalling 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 caeful 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.


Ladies All Ireland final day is a real family occassion when parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all get the opportunity to watch the top ladies football teams in the country showing their skills. This Sunday will be no different when Monaghan families will take to the road to support the Monaghan girls. Not just is it a family occassion off the field, but on the field it is a real family affair for Monaghan, with no fewer than 5 sets of sisters on the Monaghan team. We have the Courtney sisters, Sharon(captain), Cora and Joanne, the Mc Nallys, Una, Therese and Grainne, and the Mohan sisters Caoimhe and Natasha. Then we have 2 sets of twins Aoife and Ciara Mc Anespie and Emma and Louise Byrne. This is a really special day for all the families concerned and let’s hope we have one big Monaghan family celebration.

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