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Gaels Past & Present - Benny McArdle

Benny in the back row, first on the left

1. First memory of the club -

1970. As a twelve year old Joe Mc Nally lined me out at right corner forward in the North Louth U15 league(youngest club competition at the time) v Sean O Mahony's. The game was played on the smallest of the three pitches in the old Gaels field-the pitch in front of the old hut(for those over 55)

2. Biggest GAA influence -

Firstly the Christian Brothers in the primary school who taught me the basic football skills.They were decades ahead of their time.

Biggest influence in the Gaels was Michael Matthews. Mickey was our trainer when we won the Minor championship in 1974 after losing the '73 final by a point. Then in 1983 when we were relegated to Junior Mickey took on the job of Manager at a very difficult time for the club. We had no home pitch and had to train here, there and everywhere. Despite a few bumps along the way Mickey developed a great team spirit winning and celebrating a few Mc Ardle Cups and DMP Shields. Managing for five out of the six seasons between '83 and '88 Mickey's perseverance paid off when ably assisted by Terry Doherty we eventually won the Junior Championship in 1986, Intermediate Championship in 1987 and into Senior football in 1988. By 1987 we had our own new field to play and train on.

3. Worst trainer -

No bluffer stands out to be honest maybe because a lot of our training took place in the dark on the Friary field or the Fairgreen where all we had was the street lighting.

4. Best Trainer -

Two men stand out, Peter Carroll( Joe's brother) who in the late '70s and early '80s travelled from Belfast twice weekly to training often having to take the session himself. Peter,who by then was in his mid to late thirties,was a great example to the rest of us. Andy Mc Crave was a great man to train all year round. He put everything he had into it and his healthy eating habits put the rest of us to shame.

5. Funniest Team mate -

Hard to pick one. In our minor days we had Kevin( Red) Little as a formidable full back. I'll never forget in our successful summer of 1974 he was over in England for 3 weeks and came back with a cockney accent. Dick O Callaghan for sure gave him some abuse and Dick's sharp wit took me and anybody else down a peg or two if we had 'notions'. Michael White and myself had some laughs playing all the way up together and in adult football. The Kerryman( Kieran Fitzgerald) played on the '40' in our run to the Intermediate final in '79.He use to say to me,when he had a poor game,in his strong Kerry brogue 'I must go home and have a long serious chat with myself ' The infectious laughs of the Lamberts were memorable. Eddie Coleman was a scream. Every so often, after a hard training session or game, Eddie and myself had a telepathetic understanding for our need for some 'lubrication' and we didn't mean a rub on the treatment bench! Great memories

6. Favourite Pitch -

The Grove( Castlebellingham) was a particularly lucky ground for me even going back to under age. The Gaels teams I played on seemed to nearly always win big games in the Grove and I remember having some of my best games there.

7. Most memorable win -

1987 Intermediate Championship final beating Geraldines who had beaten us in the 1979 final.

8. Favourite Sportsperson -

Lionel Messi

9. Your having a dinner party, Three people you'd invite -

Tommy Tiernan ,Joe Brolly and Billy Connolly

Benny with his Dad, Vincent and Sons, Conall and Eanna after the 2007 intermediate final



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