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irish insider

McGlinn makes anticipated return to Stadium

| Friday, November 17, 2017

“Stadium on three. One. Two. Three. Stadium.”

This cheer echoed at the end of every single McGlinn practice. It has been effective, to say the least.

The Shamrocks (3-1) are preparing to throw the Bears into hibernation Sunday. Shamrocks senior co-captain Catherine Badart reflected on her team’s turnaround this year.

“Two years ago, we didn’t score a point until the last game in the regular season,” Badart said. “Last year we won one game and tied one game. It’s been a quick turnaround. Our goal has just been to improve each year and this year we definitely took that seriously. We just finally clicked as a team this year. We switched the coaching around and got a new playbook.”

In addition to new strategies, junior quarterback Belin Mirabile believes the team’s commitment has improved drastically.

“I think a lot of people are taking it pretty seriously,” Mirabile said. “The team has been pretty dedicated. Obviously, we have a lot of fun — that’s the main goal — but everyone has been showing up to practices all year. That helps a lot for us to get better as a team.”

In the course of the season, the Shamrocks’ valiant efforts have been successful. The team’s only loss was to Cavanaugh; the North Quad rivals won by a touchdown. Badart attributes that loss to the weather and the elements.

“Our Cav game was our first bad weather game,” Badart said. “It was hailing and windy and freezing. It was also our first night game. I think we were just unaccustomed to that; it really threw us. After that, we made sure to have practices at night and get used to playing in the colder weather.”

After losing to the Chaos, the Shamrocks once again tapped into their tenacity and luck and won the final three games of the regular season. Sizing up the Bears, who McGlinn took down earlier in the season, however, Mirabile does not anticipate another easy win.

“We played Flaherty in the regular season so we know how they play,” Mirabile said. “Most times, we are just focused on doing what we do best. Our defenders are incredible at pulling flags and we like going for up-tempo, big plays on offense. We’ve been able to get that rhythm back.”

Junior linebacker Kelly McNeill also acknowledges that the Bears will hardly go down without a fight.

“I definitely think that the game in the stadium is going to be very high-pressure,” McNeill said. “We have played them before, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll come up on top again, just because it is such a big game. Both teams have had an opportunity to improve over the season since we played each other last. We might have to make adjustments once we get there.”

The Shamrocks excel when faced with adversity, however. Sophomore cornerback Erin O’Brien is confident in the team’s ability to think on its feet.

“I think we’re definitely good at making adjustments during games, too,” O’Brien said. “During the first couple of plays, we see what’s going wrong and we correct it immediately. I think that’s one of our strengths.”

It isn’t the championship title that motivates the Shamrocks, however; it’s their dedication to teamwork. McNeill explained it is the other girls clad in green jerseys who inspire every play.

“We really look to each other as teammates to pump one other up before games or settle nerves,” McNeill said. “Throughout the season, whenever a teammate makes a big play, the rest of the team is more excited than they personally are. That really boosts us to play harder for our teammates. When you see others working hard on the field, it drives you to want to work harder on the field. You want to do it for them. I think that when we go into this game on Sunday, it’s really going to be about us as a team, not anyone individually.”

The Shamrocks’ “team” exceeds more than just the 32 girls on the turf. Badart fondly reported that even a few team alums are returning to watch the game.

“We called up our past captains and graduated teammates and told them that we had landed the championship,” Badart said. “We all started this journey together and it’s exciting to see the team’s progress. Some of them are even coming back to watch Sunday’s game. Our team expands over years and that bond doesn’t really die. It’s a great thing to be a part of.”

Although still eyeing the elite title of “champions,” Mirabile considers the season a success regardless of the game’s outcome.

“Come Sunday, whether we win or lose, it’s going to be an awesome game,” Mirable said. “I’m just looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing with these people.”

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