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DUBLIN OR MEATH?

The Sheridans are a close-knit family -- except when it comes to football.

Olivia Sheridan and her family live on the Meath-Dublin border in Garristown. Like many families in the area, they are divided when it comes to which county they support in GAA.

While she remains loyal to her home county Meath, her husband Martin is loyal to his native Dublin.

Her eldest son Ronan (31) followed in her footsteps supporting the Royal County.

However, the other two Sheridan boys, Dara and Kieran, have taken after their father and will be kitting out in Blue to watch the match on Sunday.

"Both boys play for the local team St Vincent's in Meath. I suppose Kieran sort of ventured out with his friends to support Dublin."

Martin is chairman of the GAA club in Garristown and "poached" their youngest son Dara (26) to play for the Garristown team.

Olivia has always had an interest in football. "I played a bit of ladies' football in my day, that's years ago now," she explained. She says raising boys who played for different teams could be demanding but she enjoyed it too. "I always went with the kids to the matches. They played for different teams, so I'd have to try to make all the games."

And she always made sure the boys looked their best on the pitch: "I used to wash their kits and I was a great one for cleaning the boots.

"Everyone would be wondering how they always had such clean boots."Daughter Sinead is the only neutral one in the family.

"She wore a Meath jersey for a while, but I've seen her wear a Dublin jersey too. She's kind of in the middle; she could support either.

"I'll sit with a group of girl friends of mine from Meath.

"I'll probably drive there with Martin and home again after but I won't sit with him. He'll sit with the Garristown club."

Olivia isn't too worried about the outcome of tomorrow's match, though. "We won't be disappointed. It'll be a big bonus if Meath win, but I suppose Dublin are the favourites," she said.

But she's not ruling out a Meath win.

"Meath could always have a surprise for Dublin, you never know."

She recalls Meath's victory over the Dubs in 2001: "That was brilliant. That time, when I think about it now, it's the kids that made it.

"We always brought the kids to the game on Sunday; that was just what you did."

The next generation of Sheridans are divided, too. Olivia and Martin have two grandsons. Kieran's son Sam is three-and-a-half and wears the blue, while Ronan's son Ollie (2) wears the green and gold. It's not just families that are divided by county rivalry, businesses on the border have a mix of staff from both sides.

The Grasshopper in Clonee is right on the border and its staff and patrons will be out in county colours this Sunday. Owner Martin Regan said: "There's rivalry between bar staff and patrons. It's a constant battle; the slagging might last a week to 10 days after the match."

hnews@herald.ie