IN 2001 a 16-year old Louise Crowley won an All-Ireland junior club ladies football championship with her native Rockban in Cork.
This Saturday she captains Murroe-Boher in the very same All-Ireland final.
“I moved to Limerick last year and there wasn’t a Ladies Football club in the area so I joined up with the Murroe-Boher camogie club to get to know people in the parish,” explained the 29 year old Occupation Physiotherapist.
“At the start of this year Noel Regan came to me and said they were setting up an adult Ladies Football team and wanted to know would I be interested. Of course I was because football is my first gra,” said Crowley, who is centre back on the youthful Murroe-Boher side in Saturday’s final in Ballinasloe.
“I was the youngest in that Rockban team in 2001 when I was wing forward,” she recalled.
The following year, Rockban girls added the All-Ireland intermediate club title.
In a career of note, Crowley also won a senior B all Ireland with Cork in 2007.
Before togging out this Spring, Crowley hadn’t played football in a number of years.
“I definitely wasn’t thinking about winning an All-Ireland when we started out. The underage girls are the superstars of this team. There is experience in the likes of Niamh Richardson, Michelle Norris, Claire Keating, Siobhan O’Connor and Kathyrn Fahy so there is a great balance in the team,” said Crowley.
The captain has praised the influence of the management team of Noel and Helen Regan and Donal Ryan.
“They have been brilliant in everything they have done. They make sure that every angle is covered and all through the season preparations and training have progressed. Every the younger girls have started to talk up and everyone works together to ensure that we are doing things to our best,” outlined the centre back.
They girls have been fabulous. On and off the field they are friends and that shows when they play. In fairness to them this season they have given 110% and to reach an All Ireland final is testament .”
“Of course getting to a final is great but now that we are there we really don’t want to come home without the trophy.”
Crowley has also paid tribute to all in the Murroe-Boher parish and beyond for their support to the team - both financially and on match days.
“We had to travel to Maastricht in Holland for our All-Ireland quarter-final and that cost about €10,000 so without the generosity of the people we would not be in an All-Ireland final.”
He continued: “The response from people was really unbelievable. We had a cake sale and gathered clothes for recycling and the response was brilliant. We got donations from the businesses and even from the US”.
On Saturday the team aim to repay that support.
“It is important that we focus on ourselves. The important thing is that we play to our potential and play our game. We won’t overly worry about the opposition and try to make them change to tackle our game,” said Crowley ahead of Saturday’s final against the Roscommon girls.
All going according to play, Crowley will collect a third All-Ireland club title and a first for Murroe-Boher.