herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Catherine is the pride of Parish!

DUBLIN'S Hall of Fame is better for the arrival of Catherine Connaghan.

Catherine has been walking tall since she received the award. "I was in shock," she admits. And the applause hasn't died away yet. "People who I thought didn't even know me are saying 'well done.'

Catherine's accolade was a reward for her devotion to Erin's Isle. If anybody sums up the spirit of 'The Parish', it's her.

She is still doing all the jobs - board delegate, mentor and, remarkably, she is still playing.

"I didn't play my first match until I was nearly 40. I keep saying I will retire, but I just love it."

These days, she's on the Senior 7 side. "I am a corner-back, but I'd play anywhere as long as I get a jersey."

Cyclist

Before she took up the hurl, Catherine was a fine cyclist. She was a member of the Dublin Wheelers. She competed in the World Championship.

She played soccer with teams like Ashtown and The Avengers. And she played for Ireland.

"It was a friendly against Northern Ireland at Butlin's. I came on as sub and scored a goal. That wasn't bad for a left full-back!"

Marriage and family came along. Catherine returned to sport playing badminton at Coláiste Íde. Then she played Gaelic football with Isle's.

"Ita Toman asked me did I ever play camogie. I went down to my first training session. And I said to myself 'where has this been all my life?' I absolutely adore it."

Catherine was playing away for the juniors. Then came the call to the senior side. "They were a bit short and some of out U16s were also subbing up.

"We were playing Ballyboden. The young girls were petrified because we had never beaten Boden before.

"I was saying to them that you should always try to play at the highest level you can. That should be your ambition."

Catherine was corner-forward. She caused havoc. Isle's won.

"Mary Dwane's mother was at the match and she said to Mary 'where did you get that young corner forward from? She's terrific.

"Mary said that's Hughie Connaghan's wife. And her mother replied, 'I didn't know he married a young one!' I was in my mid-40s then. I was chuffed," smiles Catherine.

She has fond memories of the Hall of Fame ceremony and the genial Gerry O'Sullivan as MC.

"Gerry was brilliant. It was such a lovely honour to get. It means so much to me."

Down in Farnham Drive, Catherine means so much, and has done so much, for her beloved Isle's.

Long may she keep playing, and teaching all about the wonderful gift of sport.

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