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BUSY days for Kate Byrne. Juggling football and college life.

Not much time for music. Kate plays the piano. She can sing too.

Mary Duff gives a good rendition of the Royal county of Meath.

Kate has been wearing the county jersey since U12 level.

In a month of Sunday's she's one of the nicest people you'd ever meet.

There's a modesty there. And the warmest of personalities.

Meath begin their Leinster Championship campaign next weekend against Laois.


They have a couple of fences to jump before the knock-out stages.

Dublin don't have any such worries. They have received a ticket to the semi-final.

Meath, Laois and Westmeath will play-off in the round robin section. The winners will progress to the Leinster final . The runners-up will play the Dubs.

"It's a new system this year and I think it will be beneficial to ourselves, Laois and Westmeath.

"We'll all be fighting for places in the group, so there should be some good football played."

But the three sides can see Dublin at the end of the Port Tunnel.

"Dublin have been setting the standards for many years. Ever since they won the All-Ireland in 2010, they have been dominating Leinster.

"And they have been up there among the best sides in the country as well.

"They are a top side. They set the bar for the rest of us to try and emulate.

"But it's important for ourselves and all the other counties to not let the gap between the rest and the likes of Dublin and Cork to get much bigger."

Life is looking brighter for the Royals. "The senior team is made up of a lot of U21s.

"We have a lot of youth coming onto the side, and that's great to see.

"Our U14s had a big win over Dublin in the Leinster U14 Championship final. We finally managed to beat the Dubs!

"That was a huge win for the county, and it has given everybody such a lift.

"I was at that game in Clane, and it was such a super match. Two fabulous teams. It was wonderful to see such a high level of football from such young players."

Kate says the footballer everybody should try to be is Caroline O'Hanlon.

"She is somebody I really admire. And the fact that she plays midfield like myself adds to it.


"She has a lovely style about her. It's the way she plays the ball and she brings such experience to the game.

"She is a highly respected All-Star, and she is a player I really look up to."

Kate is thrilled to see the sport continue to flourish.

Over the years, it has produced wonder women like Mary Jo Curran, Cora Staunton, Tracey Lawlor, Briege Corkery and Sinead Aherne.

"The game is really developing and it's great to see the establishment of the Women's Gaelic Players Association.

"That will bring more recognition to the women athletes. And it's a recognition they certainly deserve."

This is Kate's last year with the U21s, but she hopes to play for the seniors well into the future.

And, no doubt, she'll do it with a smile on her face and a song in her heart.