So many of us dream about climbing the steps of the Hogan Stand in September, and so few of us fulfill it. The Kildare ladies did so today: they edged Clare by a point in a thrilling Intermediate final in Croke Park earlier this afternoon, to atone for their defeat in the final last year.
Captain Aisling Holton was joined by a very special guest as she collected the trophy, however. You may remember Jennifer Malone, the young Kilkenny fan who took time out of the bedlam of the pitch invasion after the All-Ireland semi-final replay in Thurles to console Pauric Mahony:
Jennifer's gesture was seen around the country, and Pauric Mahony sent her his jersey a few days later.
It turns out that Jennifer is also a big Kildare fan, and she was invited up the steps to help Kildare lift the cup this afternoon:
— L. NíHéineacháin (@LaobhaoiseNihE) September 25, 2016
kildares ashling Holton and no 1 supporter Jennifer malone lifting the all ireland womens intermediate cup in croke park . mon the lilies!! pic.twitter.com/9QTYqMUVK8
— tomdonovan (@tomdonovan15) September 25, 2016
That's brilliant. Balls.ie spoke briefly to Jennifer's mother, Donna, who revealed she had been going to Kildare games all her life:
Jennifer has been going to Kildare matches since she was a year old, that's 16 long years of waiting to get her hands on a All Ireland title, today she was asked to carry the cup out onto the pitch before the game. I think she gave them the luck to win today!
Donna added that Jennifer is also a keen Kilkenny fan.
A fantastic gesture that further beguiles a fantastic occasion.