Finals Preview – we get the views of players originally from outside Louth

With a number of players from outside of of the county lining out in Saturday’s Senior and Intermediate finals, Louth LGFA PRO Dermot Woods spoke to four of those taking part.
Lisa McCabe (Gers)
Three years with the club and 3 finals it has gone very well for you?
Yes I joined the Geraldines in 2018 after moving to Dundalk. I was put in contact with Brian Cafferty and since joining the club I have settled into life in Dundalk very well. I am privileged to be involved with a team of girls who collectively bring talent, hunger and determination to the pitch.
Paula Lavin has come in, how have you found her methods, strengths etc?
Yes this is Paula’s second year in charge of the Gers. A native of Roscommon she is a lady but once she walks onto the football pitch she means business. She has such a passion for Gaelic football and a very competitive edge. She keeps us grounded, takes one game at a time, is honest and says things as they are. She is accompanied by Jim Mc Eneaney this year and the two work very well together. Every training session is tough, enjoyable and you look forward to it.

My home Club is Knockbride in Cavan, home to Larry, Peter and Michael Reilly part of the 1997 County Ulster Winning Team. I was again privileged to be part of a very successful team in the early 2000s.

  • 2002: Winner of Intermediate County Final and Winners of Intermediate Ulster Final.
  • 2003 Winner of Senior County Final and Winners of Senior Ulster Final, U16 championship and Division 1 + 4 league.
  • 2004: Winner Senior County Championship, Minor League and championship
  • 2006 Winner County Senior Championship and Division 1 League
  • 2014: winner of Junior Championship and runners up in Ulster Final.

I hope to see my parents there on Saturday however that all depends on availability of tickets.

The Mochtas would have been favourites for me but you can never write the Brides off they have a very talented forward line and are a fit young team and I am expecting a tight contest on Saturday. I am looking forward to a fast, clean competitive game of football.

Denise Mc Kenna in action for Dublin v Donegal in the NFL 2013 Div 1, February 2013. ©Copyright of

Denise McKenna is lining out for Clans in her debut season in Louth football.

“Yes it’s my first year with Clans and in a county final, not a bad start to my time with in Louth. We enjoyed the semi final we wanted to set our own standard in the match and power on through right until the end which I think we did well.

I’ve settled in well with the Clans, for such a big club it has a great welcoming culture, everyone is so friendly it was so easy to fit right in.

Management have done their homework on the opposition for the final but we plan on concentrating on our game plan, our work rate etc. You can only control the controllables, and we will be concentrating on how hard we work as a team on Saturday.

There has been a lot of games in short spells, it makes it exciting, you have to balance training and recovery better with shorter time between games.

My Dad and Mam were hoping to make it up for the final but with restrictions being implemented in  Dublin this week I’m not too sure they’ll make it. The streaming set up by the Louth County Board of the semi final was brilliant, which isn’t a bad alternative. My old club mates from Fingallians tuned in as did my brother over in England, it does bring people together for the match while still being apart. It’s nice to know they are watching and cheering you on wherever they may be,” concluded the Dubliner

Longford born Ailish Noonan is relishing the prospect of winning a Louth SFC medal in her first season with St Brides
On that epic semi-final victory over St Mochtas, the strong wind was always going to have an influence on that game so having it in the first half we knew we had to use it to our advantage.  Going into the second half we were well ahead but going in against the wind we knew there was still a tough 30 mins to play and the Mochtas were always going to get their purple patch so we had to stay focused and keep playing our game. We were always expecting a tough game and it really did go down to the wire with them coming back at us in the second half. In fairness to everyone we didn’t give up even when they drew level in the last few minutes, everyone kept the heads up to hold on. I think there was a sense of relief more than anything when the final whistle blew because it could have went either way in the end.

It’s unreal to be in a final especially since this is my first year up here with the Brides, there’s a great buzz about the place. Everyone’s been pushing themselves at training and there’s definitely competition for places, even there in the semi final any of the subs that came on made an impact and Fra’s not afraid to make any changes if it’ll help us get the win.

No one’s spot is safe it doesn’t matter who you are there are no egos on the team, we all know it takes everyone to get us over the line and it’s a great attitude to have. Looking to the final we know where we stand with the Gers, they are the best team in the county at the minute and they’re coming into the game unbeaten so they’ll be confident. We met them earlier in the first game of the league and we let them run away with it a bit so we’d be hoping to at least put in a better performance than that.

We’ll regroup during the week for training but with the game being on Saturday there’s not much time so there won’t be any heavy sessions we need to make sure the bodies are recovered right. We’ve done the hard work we’re not going to get any fitter before Saturday it’s about getting the heads right now seeing what worked on Sunday and what we need to improve on going into the game. Getting to the final is a huge achievement for us and it’s great for the community as well especially now to have something to look forward to and we’ve great support. There’s going to be nerves on the day but we’ll be looking to go out and enjoy the game Saturday and hopefully play to our potential.


Marie lifting the All-Ireland ladies football senior cup in 2004. Photo from Connacht Tribune.
Naomh Fionnbarra’s Galway girl Marie Doyle is expecting nothing easy in Saturday’s final.

I am really looking forward to Saturday as I was pregnant last year and missed the final. Our girls have trained hard the last few months and commitment has been great. Alan McMahon, Stuart Reynolds and Andrew Rogers have us all ready for a battle, there will be nothing easy on Saturday.

What about her time with her native county? 

I was lucky to be part of a successful Galway team winning the junior final in 2002 as captain and the senior final in 2004. I played my last game for Galway in 2010 before moving to Louth and joining Naomh Fionnbarra in 2011. I played two enjoyable seasons with Louth, 2012, 2013 playing with some very talented players. The standard of club football in Louth has improved so much in 10 years, a credit to the county board, mentors, coaches and improved club structures.

Age is only a number, girls should continue to play while they are able.

It is very busy with the kids but the short season suits us both this year, John trains opposite days and usually games don’t clash at weekends. Naomh Fionnbarra men are playing the junior semi final on Saturday at 2 so he won’t be able to come to our final or even watch it in TV! Seven players on our team have brothers playing on the men’s team, it’s a pity it wasn’t changed.

My mam and my sister are coming to the game and the rest of my family will watch it in Galway, they really enjoyed the game last week. Live streaming is a brilliant idea, it’s great promotion for ladies football and it almost makes up for the limited number of supporters allowed to the game. The quality of last week’s game was perfect and the commentators were excellent.