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Saturday 16 December 2017

Kate now the pride of famous Larriers

Ayrfield ace makes history for club with her Dublin senior debut

IT was a perfect day. Kate Fitzgibbon had the cup.

The hall was packed. Dublin jerseys everywhere.

Kate was back in St Paul's School in Ayrfield where her name will be forever inscribed on the Roll of Honour.

The school has a distinguished tradition in Cumann na mBunscol. Memorable days in Croke Park.

Kate had returned to show the pupils the Leinster Minor Championship trophy.

She has since gone down in history as the first O'Toole's ladies footballer to have played at senior level for Dublin.

"It was such a honour," she said.

She had to pinch herself as she looked around the Dublin dressing-room and saw top footballers like Sorcha Furlong, Sinead Finnegan, Niamh McEvoy, Sarah McCaffrey, Noelle Healy and the captain, Lyndsey Davey.

And then there was one of her idols, Lindsay Peat.

"It was just fantastic to be on the same Dublin team as Lindsay. I am very lucky to also play with her in college for DCU.

"But to get the chance to line-out with her for the county was really special," added Kate.

Kate has been impressing as she came up through the ranks with the Dubs.

Her elevation to senior status has cheered all at Blunden Drive, and it has rewarded the marvellous work that has been going on there.

The first adult ladies team didn't begin until 2011. But they have been quick to make an impact.

Their rise up the stairs has seen them climbing each step with a sackful of silver.

Kate has been playing football since she was a tot. "In Ladies Football terms, we are such a young club.

"We will play in Division 4 this season. That's a very strong league. We lost the Junior 'B' Championship final last year, but we'll give it another go this season.

"We have a very young squad. Most of the girls are minors. It's brilliant to see them doing so well.

"We have a terrific under-age structure at O'Toole's. The aim eventually would be to progress to Inter and then senior.

"In the near future, the target would be to get to Junior 'A' and try to represent O'Toole's at Leinster and All-Ireland level. But that's a bit down the road yet.

"We'll keep putting in the effort and doing the best we can. We are a work in progress."

O'Toole's have a deep history. In the modern era, their flagship side have been the senior hurlers.

But travelling back through the decades, there's a rich football tradition there too.

ELEGANT

Their home offers first-class facilities. Elegant clubhouse, floodlights, one of the best playing surfaces in Ireland, all-weather pitch plus Ball Walls.

Growing up, Kate admired the excellence of players like Michael Carton and David Mooney.

Every Saturday the club's Nursery, Little Larriers, sees the kids going home dreaming of playing for the Dubs.

Of following the Cartons, or being the next Dave Synnott, Seán Kearns, Brendan McLoughlin or Kate Fitzgibbon.

In the meantime, the O'Toole's website has a message for all. It reads:

"Make it your business to get out and see the adult ladies team in action.

"They play amazing football."

Kate would agree with that sentiment, as she adds her own tuppence worth: "Keep an eye on O'Toole's".

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