As I exited Watford Tube Station on an extremely cold morning ,I was greeted by the smiling familiar face of former Legion underage star ,Catriona o Sullivan , daughter of club stalwart Marie . Catriona was not on her own though as alongside her was her boyfriend Neil who hails from Glenflesk and her brother David who has just recently moved to England for his new job . The two lads cant join us for a coffee unfortunately as Neil is heading off to train the nearby Glen Rovers U16 Gaa football team and David is off to do his own training.
Myself and Catriona decide to head for the Tudor Arms for light refreshments and a chat about Catrionas new life here at the foot of the Chiltern Hills. Straight away I could sense that she was happy here and although she does admit that one day she would like to return home ,just not for a while yet . Catriona is a physiotherapist having originally studied in Carlow for two years and then obtained her degree at the University of Hertfordshire and is currently working at Harefield Hospital which specialises in heart and lung care and finds her job very interesting indeed . I told her that I remembered her doing physio for the Legion seniors a few years back and she said that whenever she used to be home on holidays from college she used to love helping out at the club .<br /><br />
I asked Catriona to talk me through her early years in Killarney and she told me that sport always played a big part of her life so it is of no surprise that she opted for the career that she did . Catriona who grew up in Arbutus Grove before moving to Oakhill in Ballydribeen ,started playing football at the age of seven and played at all age groups up to and including senior and actually played for the boys underage teams up to U14 where she reckons Galen Carroll and David Murphy were the pick of the bunch at the time . It wasnt long before Catrionas footballing prowess was noticed by the County selectors and at the age of 12 ,she was brought into the Kerry U14 team and played at all ages thereafter in the Green and Gold up to minor and also played briefly for the Kerry seniors before her studies took her away . At club level ,Catriona enjoyed a lot of underage success winning County leagues and Championships along the way and gives great credit to teammates Michelle o Dowd and Debs Murphy who as she says were a great asset to have on any team and she also singles out Paudie Breen as being a great help to her as he trained many of the teams that she was involved in .
Having attended Gaelscoil Faithleann in her early years before moving on to the “Pres” ,she left Killarney at the tender age of 17 to start her college life where she attended IT Carlow and while at Carlow ,she often made the long trek home at the weekends for games .
Catriona finished her degree in England ,coming home regularly until she finally moved to live there fulltime ,landing in Watford ,a place she says that has many famous sons and daughters including footballers Vinnie Jones and Gareth Southhgate , singers Simon leBon and Geri Halliwell ,politician Mo Mowlam and perhaps the most famous Nick Leeson ,the trader responsible for the collapse of the Barings Bank in 1995.<br /><br />
We chatted for ages about her playing days and you could definitely sense that these days hold fond memories for her as she told me many funny stories ,most of which cannot be printed but she did remember a particular night when ,at the the time for some unknown reason at U12 level ,whenever a train would pass all the team would lie down and kick their legs in the air and on this night that is exactly what happened ,only that it was in the middle of a match and the opposing team took full advantage to score the easiset of points . She says that she can still hear the screams of Paudie Breen .<br /><br />
Id have loved to have stayed longer as the conversation was great but I had to make my apologies as I had to head to Heathrow Airport as i had a flight to catch to Western Australia