Louth's Lauren Boyle and Niamh Rice with coach Gerry Reilly at full-time. (Pic: Warren Matthews)
Louth ladies manager Darren Bishop couldn’t help but sense their late supremo, Mícheál McKeown, was looking down on his side after their dramatic All-Ireland semi-final victory over Derry on Sunday.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, the man above was looking down on us,” he said.
“He was saying: ‘by God, you will work to get this win!’, and when you look at it, at the end, Derry's best footballer (Emma Doherty) is put 20 yards in front of the goal and kicks the ball wide.
“At that stage, I'd have taken a draw, but that’s what it is all about, for the likes of Mícheál and his wife, Mary, who is a fantastic woman, this is something for her now to cherish.”
The game’s finale, after the long break due to Michelle McMahon’s injury, added to the suspense and understandably Bishop struggled to come to terms with what he’d seen.
“It’s very hard to explain,” the Louth boss added.
“It was very unfortunate with Michelle going down with the injury and there was a break of up to 35 minutes nearly, but in the changing room it was very easy to see how much the girls wanted it. They knew exactly why they wanted to get to Croke Park and anyone that follows Louth ladies football and knows what they’ve been through over this past year will know the reason why they wanted to be in Croke Park.
“You couldn’t ask for anything more from the girls.”