Monday 20 November 2017


Ace Sineád is reel deal 'MRS McANESPIE' was a charming programme. It was shown on TG4. Sineád Finnegan played a central role in the making of it.

The half-hour documentary featured Monaghan's Brenda McAnespie. "She was just brilliant. I loved making that programme," recalls Sineád.

Brenda was football crazy. Still is. But when she was growing up, there was no football for girls.

She wasn't even allowed to play football at school in case she had to go home to her mother covered in mud!

"I wanted to be a boy," she admitted.

When the future president of the GAA, Seán McCague, came to teach at the local school, Brenda's world suddenly became a whole lot brighter.

Seán not only allowed Brenda to play football. He picked her on the school team, among all the boys. And she was as good as any of them.

Roll on the film to years later and there's Brenda and Seán chatting about old times in the schoolyard. They had much to talk about.

Brenda played 14 years with Monaghan. She has All-Ireland and All-Stars awards on the cabinet.

And nothing could get in the way of her football career. She has seven children. She played in one All-Ireland final when she was 14 weeks pregnant!

Eventually, Brenda ended up playing alongside her daughters, with the rest of the clan looking on!

"In college, we learned how to edit, produce and direct. And also how to use the cameras, lights, etc. I spent four years at DCU and then went to Waterford IT," says Sineád.

"Making 'Mrs McAnespie' was part of our college project with Nemeton. We were based out in the Ring Gaeltacht. We did it all through Irish. My degree at DCU was also through Irish. I love the language and I'm very keen to keep it up. Our class made seven programmes and they were all shown on TG4. My ambition is to get into television, but it's proving difficult."

Yet Sineád continues to learn more and more about the craft. She worked on Bill Cullen's 'The Apprentice' and she has also been involved with 'The Voice of Ireland'.


Kathryn Thomas is the presenter. Sineád is a fan. "She is doing a lot of stuff at the moment. I think she is excellent. And she is such a nice person as well."

Also in the Sineád Fan Club is the new Dublin vice-captain, Sineád Goldrick. "She is just unreal, even in training. She had a super season last year and it was lovely to see her get nominated for an All-Star."

Dublin have been back at it now for a while. Hard training, gym sessions and challenge matches. And even a 10-mile cycle in the Wicklow Hills. The long climb begins on Sunday away to Kildare.

Sineád has played with the Blues at all levels. This will be her first full season with the seniors.

"Due to living in Waterford, I missed most of last year. We are all back now working hard, so hopefully we'll have a good season.

"Peter Clarke is in as manager. He's first-class. I have worked with him before when he managed DCU with Angie (McNally) and Colm (Kearney)."

Off the pitch, the Fingallians footballer is keeping busy formulating programme subjects. One day, she could well make one on the great Dully (Kieran Duff). That would guarantee top ratings.

In the meantime, Sineád is planning to play her part in ensuring that the Jackies will enjoy some extended air-time in 2012.

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