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Méabh set to sing the anthem at Croke Park

HONOUR: Méabh McNeill from Lámh Dhearg will be singing the national anthem at Croke Park on Sunday before the Ladies Senior Football Final between Dublin and Galway HONOUR: Méabh McNeill from Lámh Dhearg will be singing the national anthem at Croke Park on Sunday before the Ladies Senior Football Final between Dublin and Galway
By Ciara Quinn

AN Under-16 Lámh Dhearg footballer will perform Amhrán na bhFiann in front of thousands of GAA fans on Sunday ahead of the Dublin -Galway All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Final.

15-year-old Méabh McNeill told Daily Belfast that she is “super excited” to be singing in front of up 51,000 fans at Croke Park ahead of the finale to the ladies football season.

“When I was seven myself and my brother went to Scéim Samhraidh at our club, Lámh Dhearg,” she said.

“One of the events was learning and singing the national anthem. Two of the leaders at the time Orla Nic Shíomóin and Orla Nig Fhearraigh thought I could sing and had a lovely voice. They approached my dad and asked if it was okay for me to sing in the Scór na nÓg. I’ve been singing every year since.”

Méabh spoke of how the club’s Cultural Officer, Ronan McHugh “asked me to come back last year to teach the kids how to sing the anthem”.

“That is the thing about our club, the kids that attend the summer schemes, and there are now three running, end up coaching younger kids coming through which is fantastic, especially the U-16 girls.”

“I then started singing the national anthem at club events such as juvenile and senior dinners.

“Antrim Cultural Officer Bronagh Lennon asked my dad if I could sing at some championship games and then onto County Antrim league games. Bronagh has been a great influence and mentor, not only to me but to other kids in the county with her encouragement.”

Méabh’s extremely proud dad Joe said all the family will be travelling down to Dublin to support her on Sunday.

“There is a big festival on at the club on Sunday and the game will be on in the club after that. We are just so proud.”

The Blessed Trinity College student has always had a passion for the performing arts and has performed lead roles in New Lodge Arts High School Musical and Belfast Musical Drama Society’s Hairspray.

Following her momentous pitch debut at the Jones’ Road stadium on Sunday, Méabh will be straight into rehearsals for her school’s production of Beauty and the Beast of which she will perform the role of Belle.

“I sang the national anthem in front of the Artane Band at Clones, that was a huge honour and an amazing day so imagine what it was like when my dad broke the news to me that I had been invited to sing our national anthem in Croke Park in front of an estimated 51,000 people. I’m just so excited.”

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