McCarron eager to follow in pals’ illustrious footsteps

Monaghan footballer wants to claim All-Ireland glory like former housemates Michael Murphy and Paul Flynn

 Ellen McCarron celebrates at the final whistle following  Monaghan’s semi-final victory over Galway at Breffni Park. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Ellen McCarron celebrates at the final whistle following Monaghan’s semi-final victory over Galway at Breffni Park. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho


She came by it honestly, it’s fair to say.

“I remember us as kids going to training with dad at Scotstown, he’d be up one end and me and Jack would be down the other with a ball.”

When d’you get your first Monaghan jersey?

“Oh God, I’d say when I was a day old.”

“And my mother’s family are Monaghan footballers too, her brother Hugo Clerkin would have played in midfield, and Dick Clerkin plays at the minute, he’s a first cousin.”

You’re steeped in it?

“Steeped! No choice.”

So says Ellen McCarron who will play in her third All-Ireland final on Sunday against Cork, the Monaghan forward hailing from a clan that includes one of the county’s footballing greats, her father Ray, and her kid brother Jack (“well, he’s 21, I’m 22), a member of the current senior panel.

Do you talk about anything but football at home?


A fair old footballing pedigree, then, a bit like that of her former housemates when she was a student in DCU.

“I shared a house with Michael Murphy [the captain of the 2012 All-Ireland winning Donegal team] and Paul Flynn [2011 and 2013 All-Ireland winner with Dublin], we were in the same class, PE and biology.”

Phenomenal achievement
“I was delighted for Paul, it’s a phenomenal achievement winning two All-Irelands. He always said he never thought he’d win one.”

You want a taste of that?


She came close enough in 2011. Three years before she’d come on as a substitute in a final that Cork won comfortably in the end, 4-13 to 0-11, but in 2011 there were only two points in it between the same counties.

“Just thinking back to that day, it’s not where you want to be on Sunday. We remember how we felt out there on the pitch when the hooter went, crying and stuff. We would have been very young, but we have more experience now, we’re hungrier and more focused too.”

And an encouraging year it’s been too, apart from their semi-final defeat by Mayo in the National League, a five-point victory over Galway in the All-Ireland semi-finals putting them through to their third final in six seasons.

The goal now is to emulate the Monaghan team that won successive All-Ireland titles in 1996 and 1997. “I was there in ’97,” says McCarron, “but I was only seven, so I don’t remember much,” she laughs.

“We feel we have the right team to do it, we know if we put in a good performance we should beat them,” she says. “It’s been a good year. We didn’t put in the performance on the day against Mayo in the league, that defeat was a kick in the teeth, so we knew we had a lot of work to do. But it’s been going well since.”

Her DCU days are done, “I’m in my first year teaching, in the Marist in Dundalk. Just qualified there in June, so I’m only in it three or four weeks – and already looking for the day off,” she says, apologetically.

Should she be on the winning side on Sunday, they should put a plaque on the wall of those DCU digs: “Here resided All-Ireland winners Paul Flynn (2011 and 2013), Michael Murphy (2012) and Ellen McCarron (2013).”

The GAA might lobby for the residence to be listed!