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LGFA/Jerome Quinn. Caithriona McConnell.
# dream weekend
'Crazy' - Arrive by helicopter after wedding, score 0-7 in All-Ireland semi-final win
Next stop Croke Park for Cathriona McConnell and Donaghmoyne.

LAST UPDATE | Nov 28th 2022, 8:32 AM

IT WAS A weekend like no other for Cathriona McConnell.

The Donaghmoyne star got married on Saturday, before helping her club to another All-Ireland final on Sunday afternoon.

McConnell arrived in style, fresh from her wedding celebrations in the Slieve Russell Hotel via helicopter to the pitch in Donaghmoyne.

And the former Monaghan forward went on top-score against Kilmacud Crokes, the imperious free-taker’s 0-7 tally sending her side into their first All-Ireland final since 2016 — and an historic Croke Park showdown.

In an excellent interview with Jerome Quinn on the LGFA live-stream after the game, McConnell laughed that the weekend was “just okay” before delving into a “crazy” 24 hours.

“I’m just so proud of them girls,” she began. “We just said in the dressing room today that I was after giving up my Day Two and even a wee bit of yesterday minding ourselves to be here today. They did it out on the pitch there today for me and thankfully, we’re on the way to Croker.”

McConnell did another interview in the build-up to yesterday’s game, putting a real positive spin on her personal circumstances.

No doubt there was some stress and concern about how she’d be fixed, but she wouldn’t be drawn on that in the aftermath either.

Cool, calm and collected on and off the pitch.

“To be fair, we didn’t look at it until we won the Ulster final,” she stressed. “Fair play to the girls and the management, they said to me, ‘Your wedding day is the biggest day of your life, so take the trainings off this week.’

“I went to training Tuesday night but I took Friday night off, getting ready and getting the tan and all done. The girls were laughing out there, they’ve never been so tanned going to a game!

“Everybody was behind us today, the whole wedding party is here, they followed us over. We’re just absolutely delighted, we can’t believe we’re getting a chance as a club to play in Croke Park.”

Delving deeper into Saturday night’s antics and the morning after the night before, McConnell explained:

“The girls stayed about after the meal for a wee while, had a bit of craic and a few dances and they tipped on. We ended up going to bed around three or half three. Back up this morning, a bit of breakfast, there was a great buzz around the hotel and you could hear the helicopter coming in and all. Out I went and waved them all off, they followed me over in the car. That was really it.

“We weren’t 20 minutes, half-an-hour, it was great. All the girls were standing out. We passed my home house as well, some of my sisters were standing out waving.”

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And what did her new husband think of it all? “Ah poor Darren, he has no choice at this stage! He knew what he was marrying,” ‘Teeny’ laughed.

“To be fair, he’s brilliant. There was no question that I wasn’t going to turn up today. He has my back, he’s the same, he’s here as well. We never would have missed it. We’re just lucky that it didn’t clash, because the other semi-final was yesterday.”

There was also a word for their four-year-old daughter, Amelia.

“It was a quick up this morning, hello and away again. She knows the craic as well – ‘Mammy’s away to play football,’ or whatever. I’d say she’s watching it, I don’t think she made it here to the game. She was busy swimming when I left the hotel! I have great support.”

Onwards with them all to HQ, reigning champions Kilkerrin-Clonberne lying in wait on Saturday, 10 December. There’s some history between the sides, the Galway outfit ending Donaghmoyne’s run at the semi-final stage last year.

McConnell and co. are well aware of the challenge that lies ahead, but the 20 in-a-row Monaghan champions will back themselves all the way.

“They’re brilliant,” she concluded. “We seen from last year, they are a brilliant team, but we weren’t too far away from them last year either. Listen, we’re just delighted to be there and we’ll start looking at them and planning towards that next game.”

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