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Naomh Pól Looking To Make History For Antrim Ladies Football

Naomh Pól Looking To Make History For Antrim Ladies Football

Just winning Ulster this year was special for the Naomh Pól team. It had been 10 years since they had done so. A decade on and they've taken a step further. On Sunday, they face Offaly's Naomh Ciarán in the All-Ireland Ladies Intermediate Football Championship final.

There are just three surviving members from the team which ultimately lost to Brian Boru of Tipperary in the 2009 All-Ireland semi-final: Mairead Cooper, Kirsty McGuinness and Ainé Tubridy, who captains the team this weekend.

Tubridy was just 14 when she started in that 2009 game.

"It was good experience and it's obviously stood by me for now," she says.

This year just to go one further, and obviously being captain and being here is just unbelievable. I can't even put it into words, really.

After the game (the All-Ireland semi-final) we didn't know whether to cry or to celebrate because it was mixed emotions. We felt for St Nathy's big time because it was the same result for us getting beat by a point 10 years ago.

There's so much talent in the team and so many leaders. This is stuff that I would have dreamed about. I love to be in an All-Ireland because people go through their careers never getting here. To be there as captain, it's something that will always stay with me.

Naomh Pól is a large club based on the Shaws Road near the Andersontown part of Belfast. Just last week, their juvenile presentations had to be split into two sections to accommodate the number of underage players.

After years struggling to make a breakthrough at senior level in Ulster, they were this year regraded to intermediate level.

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Over the weekend, the game was switched from being a Parnell Park double-header with the senior final to going standalone at Breffni Park in Cavan.

"No, it's no difference to us, to be honest," says Tubridy.

"It's a wee bit special as well, the last time we were in an All-Ireland, U14 Féile, I was captain and we won it there. When that was announced I was actually a wee bit happy that it was in Cavan. It's a pitch that was lucky to us.

"A lot of the girls would have been on the U14 panel as well. I know we were 14 but even just memories of that pitch. We've been there before, I know the pitch is big but that will probably suit us, I would say.

"I think we have four supporters buses coming with us and that's not counting the cars that are coming down as well. All our friends and families will be there.

"It would be a big club but everyone at the club at the minute is just buzzing. They can't help us enough with the support: organising buses, organising gear for us, our committee's been amazing. Everybody's just really buzzing for the final.

"We've already kind of made history: we're the first club in Antrim ladies football to get this far. We've made history regardless of the result but it would just be nice to get that extra wee bit."

Naomh Pól Captain Áine Tubridy with the Ladies All-Ireland Intermediate Club Trophy during LGFA All-Ireland Club Finals Captains Day at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

See Also: Great Adventure Reaches Verge Of All-Ireland Glory For CL McHale Rovers

PJ Browne
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