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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 -