When the final whistle was blown in Croke Park last Sunday, Catriona Brady, vice captain of the New York Ladies GAA team, said all her teammates were utterly devastated.
“It’s a very lonely place to be when you lose,” the Monaghan woman reflected.
“We honestly thought we were going to win it. We are still devastated, we wanted to make everyone proud and bring the cup home,” she added.
For the third time in nine weeks, the ladies had made the long-haul trip to Ireland in the hopes of capturing the All-Ireland Ladies Junior Football Championship title, in their replay against Wicklow. In the end Wicklow claimed victory with an end result of 2-10 to 0-8.
“The clock is the worst thing in the world when you are losing, up until 40 seconds I was sure we could have got the goals,” Brady told the Irish Voice.
Despite the end result, the talk in the dressing room after the disappointing replay turned to next year.
“We are going for it hell for leather,” Brady vowed.
“Even the talk coming back on the plane was how we are going to win next year. One more big drive and we will do it.”
Even though the ladies returned to New York without the title, they demonstrated the strength of the GAA abroad.
“This was our first year back in and we made it to the final. They haven’t even see the best of us yet,” Brady added.
The girls were forced to travel back to Ireland less than two weeks after the original final for last Sunday’s replay in Croke Park. Initially there were fears the club would not be in a position to fund yet another trip to Ireland for the replay, but organizers were astounded by the support shown by the local Irish community in their efforts to get the team to Ireland for the replay.
“We cannot believe the amount of support we have got,” said Nollaig Cleary, the vice chair of the New York County Board.
Cleary reflected on the teams’ hard work all season. “People at home now know there is ladies football in New York and it’s very strong,” she said.