Mellon excited to grace hallowed Croke Park

TG4 All-Ireland final preview 

By Kevin Herron 

Thresea Mellon believes it is an honour to be representing Antrim in Croke Park tomorrow and is excited at the opportunity. 

The 17-year-old was drafted into senior squad this season and has been to Jones Road twice as a spectator- though is relishing stepping onto the hallowed pitch with her Saffron team-mates tomorrow morning. 

“It’s definitely an honour to be going to Croke Park to represent your county,” said Mellon. 

“I’m definitely more excited than nervous- but I think being a little bit nervous is definitely a good thing. It’s shows you care enough to win. I’m so excited- I’ve never played at Croke Park and to be in the senior team is amazing. I can’t wait for Sunday to come around”. 

“I’ve been to two games before as a spectator and it’s an amazing stadium. I think every person who is a member of the GAA dreams of going to Croke Park one day as part of a panel and to experience that at 17 is really a dream come true”. 

“I can’t wait, my family are more excited probably than me- my mum and brother have followed the whole journey and they can’t believe it’s really happened to me this early in my career I guess”. 

Mellon was keen to praise the spirit within the set-up and gave an insight into how they are constantly pushed on in training by their fellow team-mates and managers. 

“Everyone is looking forward to it immensely,” she insists. 

“I think this is everyone’s dream in the team, we all wanted to get there – which is why I think it happened. We all want it; we all know we can do it – people on the outside mightn’t think we can do it. We’re not known for going to All-Irelands for football. We have definitely done really well, and we just believed in ourselves the whole- which is why its happened and our managers are amazing”. 

“They’ve both came in this year; this is my first year with them and they just push you on every training session and the competitiveness at every training session is amazing. Everyone is pushing for places, and you never know – one week you could be in the team and the next you could be out because everyone is pushing each other on at training”. 

Mellon was amongst a trio of St Brigid’s minors called into the squad when trails were able to take place in April and was delighted that they were able to play their Minor Championship after fears it would fall by the wayside this year. 

“There was three of us called up from my club St Brigid’s,” Mellon recalls. 

“There were two other girls that trailed and got on the team and two more have been asked up from the minor team. We went to the senior trails because we thought the minor team wouldn’t happen and we thought- we’ll give it a go I guess and if it doesn’t happen this year, we can always go again next year”. 

“Luckily enough we made the team and not long after we made the team, we were told there was going to be Minor trials- so it was definitely a good thing that we were able to play for our own age group as well as play up with the seniors”. 

Theresa Mellon in action for Antrim against Monaghan in the Ulster Minor Platimum final at Corrigan Park.

“Duana [Coleman] who is also a player here, we captained together, and it was a great honour and we got to the Platinum Ulster Minor final- it was amazing because it’s never happened before for Antrim. We were unlucky on the day but still to get there was amazing”. 

Mellon bagged 1-02 after coming off the bench to replace Orla Corr in their Ulster Final win over Derry in June and didn’t think that things could get any better in her first year of senior intercounty football. 

“The Ulster Final was an amazing day” she reflected. 

“Orla Corr went down injured quite early-on and I was then asked to come on and I kind of panicked. She’s a back and I’m a forward and I thought I was going into defence. But they rejigged the team, and I went into the forwards, and it was amazing”. 

“The girls were amazing in the first half and got a good lead and then just came out in the second half and we needed to get the first score on the board and keep it ticking over. We were able to do it and it was an amazing day and I thought how could it get much better than this? – but luckily enough we’re going to Croke Park this weekend”. 

Reflecting upon the All-Ireland campaign to date, Mellon explained that they adopted a mindset that every game was a must win after their opening defeat and was delighted it paid dividends. 

“We knew coming into the Carlow game we couldn’t lose and had to win if we wanted to get to the semi-final” explained Mellon. 

“Luckily we brought it to extra-time and then our fitness took over from there and it was high scoring  game. Against Limerick we had the same mindset, it was a must win game and luckily enough we pulled it out of the bag”. 

“Against Wicklow, we knew they were favourites, so we knew it was going to be a tough game- but we were unlucky on the day, and we still booked ourselves a semi-final spot- which was good enough. Carlow in the semi-final was a heart stopping game. You always believe you are going to do it, but you never knew what was going to happen in that game”. 

“It was so back and forth, one minute we were ahead and the next second they went down and scored a goal and then they were leading. I was happy we pulled it out of the bag and now we’re going to Croke Park on Sunday with a chance of winning the All-Ireland”. 

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