by Daragh Small
Louth captain Kate Flood says winning the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Junior Championship title would be a special tribute to their former manager Mícheál McKeown after a sad year for the county.
Louth face-off against Limerick in the Junior decider at Croke Park on Sunday, in a repeat of the 2010 clash between the sides.
McKeown died two days after the Leinster championship fixture against Kilkenny in early June and it rocked the county, before Darren Bishop took over and helped Louth into the All-Ireland Final.
“At the start of the year, one of Mícheál’s goals and dreams were for us to get to Croke Park and doing it for him was definitely one of the main things,” said Flood.
“We’re here now so hopefully we’ll be able to go on and finish the job for him and lift the trophy for him.”
Louth have already beaten Limerick twice this year in the Lidl National Football League Division 4, including their comfortable 1-15 to 0-9 semi-final win at Portarlington on 22 April.
“I don’t think it matters what team we’re coming up against, it’s always going to be a tough game come an All-Ireland final so we’ll just prepare as best we can and look forward to the day,” said Flood.
“It’s an amazing day for all the girls and all the teams, to be able to come to Croke Park and play so it’s going to be good.”
But winning at GAA Headquarters on Sunday would be the sweetest victory of them all, for Flood and her teammates, who only squeezed through to the final after a thrilling victory over Derry.
Flood scored 2-2 in the last-four clash, and after a 40-minute delay due to an injury to one of her teammates, she scored the vital goal that sent Louth through after a 3-7 to 2-9 win in Aghaloo.
“We just kind of relaxed in the dressing room, as soon as you were in you were foam rolling and stretching, talking amongst ourselves just about we’re six minutes away here and that’s it ladies, that’s our football over, we’ll go out and get the win and luckily enough, that’s exactly what we did,” said Flood.
“The emotions were all over the place, we didn’t know to cry, laugh or what to do but it was just an amazing, amazing feeling to know we were going to Croke Park.”