Dual Jewels

THE difficulties of being a dual player have been
well highlighted in recent times – but what about the problems
facing a dual couple? Today, Meath footballer Geraldine Doherty
will play in the TG4 O’Neill’s All-Star match at the Polo
Grounds in Singapore. Tomorrow, her boyfriend Brian Farrell will
line out at full-forward on the Meath senior football team for their
National League clash in Pairc Tailteann, Navan. It’s over
25 degrees in Singapore at the moment while it’s been a wintry
few days around Navan. Although there’s a special St Patrick’s
Day parade to attend on the South East Asian island tomorrow, Geraldine
will still have Navan in her mind.

“Unfortunately my mobile isn’t working over here in
Singapore but I’ll be ringing home from whatever phone I
can get to see how the Meath match goes as soon as I can,”
said Geraldine. Brian has been on the Meath senior panel for three
years now and has impressed in recent games under new boss Eamonn

Geraldine is almost five years involved with the county’s
senior ladies. “We are together three years – I only
started going out with him because he was on the Meath panel,”
she joked. No doubt they both argue over who is the better footballer
but Geraldine does have the bragging rights when it comes to All
Stars. The 21-year-old St Ultan’s girl picked up an All-Star
at wing forward last year. “I was absolutely thrilled when
I won the All-Star award. Brian was there on the night. He has
been getting a serious amount of slagging from his friends over
it – the fact that his girlfriend has an All-Star and he
doesn’t and so on.”

Dual players are a dying breed in the GAA and to a lesser extent
in ladies football and camogie – though Cork did have dual
All-Ireland winners last year. The pressures and commitment needed
to succeed at the top level have all but nailed the coffin on
future players participating in both football and hurling at inter-county
level. Limerick, Cork, Galway, Dublin, Offaly, Wexford and Tipperary
are among the counties who have seen their dual stars dwindle
in recent years as players opt to concentrate on just one code.
But it’s not easy being a sporting couple either.

At the moment the Meath senior ladies football team are training
one night a week and have a game in the Suzuki National Football
League almost every Sunday. The Meath senior football team are
training on average three times a week, with a game on Sundays.
On top of football and work, Brian also goes to college a few
nights a week. “It can be difficult sometimes but I have
been lucky enough this year in that I have got to see quite a
lot of the Meath matches in the National League,” said Geraldine.

Farrell, whose father Dudley manages the Meath minor team, has
been named at full-forward for tomorrow’s National Football
League clash with the Lilywhites. The Royals lost to Wexford last
week, while Kildare returned home from Galway with nothing to
show for their travels. “Meath have been going fairly well
lately so I’d say they have a good chance against Kildare,”
concluded Geraldine.

A win tomorrow would all but guarantee Meath of survival and
keep Royal fans happy – whether they be in Navan or waiting
patiently for the final score on the other side of the world.

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