2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets

Ewan McKenna interviews Kildares Tracy Noone

Kildare Nationalist Edward Street
Newbridge Co. Kildare

045 432 147

Tracy Noone By Ewan MacKenna

This week marks the Jewish celebration of Hanukah. It’s a
time where judgement is cast over the events of the previous
year, both good and bad. However, it’s probably not the best
time to judge Kildare women’s football. Sunday evening would
be far more appropriate. For the majority of counties, participation
in the championship at this late stage would be considered
a huge success. But not for Kildare. Having come close time
and time again, most feel a step into the senior ranks is
now due. It has been an interesting year for prolific forward
Tracy Noone too. Having been part of the Kildare panel that
had claimed ownership of the Leinster title the previous two
years, she spent last summer across the Atlantic.

This time around, Kildare are hoping her return will help
the Lilywhites overturn last year’s controversial defeat to
Sunday’s opponents. “I had planned to spent the summer in
New York. In a way it was difficult to leave with the Championship
approaching but at the same time I needed a break. I’d been
involved with the side for a long time at that stage and it
was good to get away because there are times when you need
a break. “I kept in contact with the girls while I was out
there and they kept me up to date with how things were progressing.
I was playing a bit of football out there as well, and although
it wouldn’t be up to the same standard it helped keep me fit.
When I came back I went straight back to college in Maynooth
so that kept me in shape too.”

Noone was soon back in action with her club Athgarvan and
an All-Ireland sevens title followed. By the time this year’s
league arrived it was inevitable she would return to the county
panel. “Coming back into the team it was obvious we had the
strongest panel I’d ever been involved with. There were 30
good players, all capable of making the starting line-up.
It was great to see and we set ourselves high ambitions. “We
wanted to stay in Division Two of the league. That was achieved.
We then set our sights on Leinster, and thankfully that went
well too. What’s left is an All-Ireland and it would really
make it a perfect season. “I think evidence of the strength
in depth could be seen with the line-ups that played in the
Leinster final and the semi-final against Tipperary. They
were almost completely different.”

Her introduction in the semi-final added to an already impressive
winning margin. It was a remarkable comeback considering the
ankle ligament problems that had prevented her from lining
out at the opening whistle. On Sunday, Tracy will start at
corner-forward, where she may well be marked by college friend,
Donna Duggan. “To be honest that’s as much as I know about
Donegal. We’re all expecting a much tougher game than a semi-final
that probably wasn’t the most beneficial. Most of the team
knows Donegal from last year and they obviously respect them
considering how things went then. “But we’re still confident.
I think we’re strong in every sector including on the bench
but we’re especially strong in midfield. Brianne Leahy is
a wonderful player and it’s an area that could give us a big
advantage.” For Noone and company, this is what the last year
has been about. It’s what a division two struggle through
a miserable winter was all for. It’s what all those nights
of training have been aimed at. “I suppose the support throughout
the campaign hasn’t been spectacular but hopefully that will
all change on Sunday.

The last time we got to this stage Roscommon brought a bigger
crowd than us but I think that will be different this time
around. I like to think the outcome will be different too.”
Sunday will tell all.

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