After a week's worth of speculation the identity of the celebrity Bainisteoir who will take charge of Dromahair in next year's tv programme was revealed in Dromahair on Friday last. Katherine Lynch was mobbed by school children when she emerged from her car shortly after 2.30pm and then got the chance to meet her players who were eagerly waiting for her in the dressing room.
Those familiar with her television programmes will be all too aware that Katherine can be inclined to see the funny side of every possible situation but on Friday last, all characters were left behind and she genuinely seemed taken aback by the numbers that turned out to greet her.
Huge cheers echoed out from the dressing room when she walked in and she managed to put everyone at ease telling them that she will be taking the competition very seriously.
Asked why she took the decision to get involved Katherine explained that her love of her county was one of the reasons for her to take the plunge into management.
"It's great fun and I love Leitrim. Dromahair is the team I was given and I'm delighted that they are because I've never seen such a reception. They've done themselves proud, they really impressed the crew as well. The crew said that they haven't seen a crowd like this before for Celebrity Bainisteoir.
"It's just amazing. I expected this from Leitrim, I'm from Leitrim so I know how we are and how we rally around all that is positive" explained Katherine who would be familiar to many from her exploits on the 'Wonderwomen' and 'Working Girls' programmes which were aired this year on RTE.
Given that the team that Dromahair will face in the quarter-finals, Cuala Casements from Dalkey, are to be managed by George Hook, who one would imagine knows even less about gaelic football than he does about rugby, the Leitrim club would already seem to have a slight advantage.
Katherine on the other hand is no stranger to gaelic football, and although she looked slightly out of place wearing high heels in the park in Dromahair, she has football running through her veins.
"I'm from Mohill but my father's from Kerry and the O'Shea boys are cousins of mine. Paid is actually a cousin of mine as well. Between Kerry and Leitrim we've always had football in the house", explained Katherine.
Although she only had a short time to assess her players and looked on as they went through a light training session she was impressed by the attitude that they showed.
"Now that I've seen how enthusiastic everyone is and how much the boys want to win, they are going to win. It's going to happen. They believe in themselves so that's half my battle", enthused Katherine.
With a busy work schedule Katherine acknowledged that it will be tough finding time for everything but has no regrets about accepting the challenge.
"It's going to be difficult but I'll do it. It’s great to be busy because in my line of work you take all the work that comes, but this is not work, this is my hobby. It’s like being asked to do something that you really like,” explained Katherine.
Having seen Katherine out of character many of the players were able to take a deep breath of relief but she was unable to guarantee that she won’t be having a laugh at their expense over the course of the programme.
Asked if she would be able to put players minds at ease as to whether or not she would be a making a show of them to the nation, Katherine replied laughing: “No. Definitely not!”
Dromahair captain Paddy McGowan and his brother Christy were both impressed having met Katherine and are both excited about the challenge that lies ahead.
“The minute she walked into the dressing room it was exciting. The lads, everybody is delighted. We’re just looking forward to getting stuck in to training” said Paddy while younger brother Christy is looking at the opportunity as a “chance to show the country that football is alive and well in Leitrim and alive and well in Dromahair.”
“We’re really looking forward to Katherine, we are all fans of her since she is a Leitrim woman on telly and she is great craic. We’re really looking forward to working with her and seeing her training techniques. We’re in it to win it,” added Christy.
With the opportunity to showcase your club, community and county on national television comes the danger of looking rather silly if beaten heavily and the McGowan brothers were in agreement that a lot of hard work will be required from all the players.
“There’s huge pride at stake here,” said Paddy. It’s not something that we’re going to do for a bit of craic. We’re totally in it to win it and really looking forward to it.
We had a players meeting last week and everyone was aware of that. We have to be hitting the ground running for the first game and be in good shape. We’re not too bad at the moment just after a long season but we hope to get a few sessions in before Christmas and then the start of January, the serious stuff.”
Putting it bluntly Christy said “you’re on tv so the last thing you want to do is look unfit.”