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Glass vows that Fermanagh dominance over Oak Leaf girls will end in Croke Park battle

 

By Declan Bogue

Come whatever on Sunday, Derry captain Cáit Glass will call in to her local bar in Moneyneaney, just outside Draperstown to see one of the first friends she made upon arriving in the Derry village.

The proprietor of The Hogan Stand bar is Charlie McNally of Tempo in Fermanagh. Last week, the bar was festooned with red and white bunting for the Derry minors and this week, retained for the ladies' final, even though McNally himself is a die-hard Fermanagh fan.

"I met him there at the weekend, he was giving me a good slagging, saying he will be shouting for Fermanagh," laughs Glass now.

"I was in the bar after the county final, and he was joking that he was going to spike my orange juice to sabotage this coming weekend."

Her maiden name is McCarra, with her father Laurence from Scotstown in Monaghan.

She grew up in the Tipperary village of Newcastle, where a banner hanging in the front window of Laurence's hardware store wishes Lauren Fitzpatrick - the Tipperary goalkeeper facing Tyrone - and Glass good luck in their respective finals. With cousins from Emyvale and Donaghmore in Tyrone, she admits she is a "mixed bag".

When Glass started playing, she encountered the usual problem of playing in boy's teams up until under-14s, when you couldn't continue.

So, her father and her aunt Brigid Grant - the successful coach of the Waterford ladies' team of the late '90s - established a ladies' football club and away they went.

Her football career was interrupted for a few years while she studied Physiotherapy in Eastbourne, Brighton. During that time she met her future husband Sean and once she gained her qualification they headed for New Zealand to see a bit of the world.

They spent another few years in London, where she togged out for the Tara club in Greenford and saw Championship action for London.

Back in Derry for the last two years, she admits to her shock when handed the captaincy at the start of this season.

She takes up the story: "Paul Hasson (current Derry manager) was my initial connection when I went to Ballinascreen. He was the name I was given and when I arrived there in 2012 one of the first things I did was look for a club.

"It came around at the start of the year, he was looking to see who was going to give it the commitment and it was just before our first league game. The management came up and asked me and I was shocked to be honest.

"I mean, even just playing, as one of the team and accepted as part of the team was a great honour for me. But then to be asked to be captain I thought maybe I was seen as a peace-keeper between all the clubs, as a neutral! But I was told there was other reasons."

They won't be expected to have it easy this weekend up against a Fermanagh team that know they have their measure after four heavy defeats this season already.

The midweek trip to Croke Park though has been a help to Glass as she states: "I think it has put my mind at ease, more than anything.

"Watching the finals on Sunday past and then them going round the parade, that got my heart racing. If anything this has settled me a bit."

Teams

Derry: C Mackey; A McGeogh, D Donnelly, C Glass; N Browne, K Holly, D Kivlehan; A Laverty, E Doherty; J Donnelly, C Moore, E Doherty; A Crozier, M Devine, C McGuirk

Fermanagh: R Gleeson; E Campbell, C Murphy, N McManus; M Connolly, S Hamilton, A Maguire; M McDonald, A McGovern; R O'Reilly, A Woods, L Maguire; E Smyth, S Murphy, N McManus

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