Field of Dreams

08 October 2013
For this group of gaelic footballers of all ages, abilities and sporting backgrounds playing at Croke Park was little more than the punch line in a joke. But all of a sudden it was a very stark reality and excitement was quickly followed by a real sense of fear. Less dream, more nightmare!

With three further intense training sessions behind them and the team for the game selected the Creggan mothers and others squad and their loyal supporters gathered at the clubhouse @ 8am on a cool but clear September morning to head for Croker. Settled on our luxury coach, the ensuing three hours were filled with nervous chatter about who was going to do what and how many we would get beaten by. On arrival in Dublin the stadium loomed up from behind the houses and the nerves really took hold. But an hour later the girls were all kitted out and raring to go – just that three hour wait now!

Half an hour before we were due to play at half time in the senior final, news came through that our hurlers had just become County champions. Cheers rose up from our group and then died again as we realised it was now our time to deliver. Waiting in the tunnel at Croke Park was a surreal but energising experience and we also got our first glimpse of our Leitrim opponents. Walking out on to the sunlit turf to the cheers and applause of our supporters was the dream and it didn’t disappoint.

The whistle sounded and Creggan were quickly into their stride with a well taken goal from Charlene McGlinchey and followed quickly by further scores from Fionnuala Colgan and Laura McCann. Creggan maintained a stranglehold in midfield with Marie Therese McNicholl, Kiera Maguire and Debra O’Boyle displaying great aggression and good ball handling skills to provide the forwards with plenty of possession. In a defence marshalled by Anita Gribben, Roisín McMinn and Donna McGuckian kept their forwards under tight control and they were supported by a flawless display in goals by Michelle Bradley.

Creggan’s dominance continued and they tagged on further scores from Debra O’Boyle and a further goal from Laura McCann to eventually run out winners by 2-6 to 0-0. A great display on a great day for these Creggan ladies who represented their club with pride and commitment in Croke Park. Even hardened old veterans like Terence and Séamus were hard pushed to resist a solo up the field and clipping one over the bar into ‘The Hill’. Handshakes, beaming smiles and photos followed as did stories about who did what and how many we won by.

“It is the very possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” Paul Coelho

This was one of life’s very interesting days!

By Seamus Duffy

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