HomeSportFootballKatie McCabe: The Cheeky Smiling Kid Who Evolved Into A Leader

Katie McCabe: The Cheeky Smiling Kid Who Evolved Into A Leader

Katie is the mischievous one among them all, always sporting that radiant smile," McQuillan recalls.

Katie McCabe, with her infectious smile, has made history, rising from the streets of Tallaght to the Women’s World Cup stage.

As the Republic of Ireland’s youngest-ever captain, she led her team to their inaugural tournament. This is her remarkable story.

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Football ran through McCabe’s veins, growing up just a stone’s throw away from Tallaght Stadium, where she has proudly donned the captain’s armband for the national team.

With ten siblings, her family formed her first team, with football quickly becoming a passion close to her heart.

Following in the footsteps of her brother Gary, who played for Shamrock Rovers and Bray Wanderers in the League of Ireland, McCabe embarked on her footballing journey.

Starting at Kilnamanagh AFC and Crumlin United, it was at Raheny United that she truly made her mark.

At just 16 years old, McCabe was already part of the Raheny team when Casey McQuillan assumed the managerial role in 2013.

Reflecting on their first encounter, McQuillan reminisces about McCabe’s carefree spirit, along with fellow talented youngsters Shauna Newman and Claire Shine.”

Katie is the mischievous one among them all, always sporting that radiant smile,” McQuillan recalls.

“Their ability on the pitch was evident. Age was irrelevant to me. If they could play football and were good enough, whether they were 33 or 17 didn’t matter.”

While McCabe, who has netted 20 goals in 73 appearances for the Republic, demonstrated early promise, she wasn’t the polished player she is today.

She possessed moments of individual brilliance, such as her unforgettable 35-yard free-kick in the FAI Cup final at the Aviva Stadium.”

You could see there was something special about her game,” McQuillan affirms. “She displayed immense potential during her time with us. Katie always did things her own way. As a manager, you couldn’t really criticize her, except to ask, ‘Why did you do that?'”

“‘Well, it worked, didn’t it?'” would often be her response. And indeed, it did work, so it was all fine. Our exchanges were always light-hearted like that, but at times, she would drive me crazy. She consistently pushed the boundaries, both on and off the pitch, which is what makes her exceptional.”

To pursue her football dreams, McCabe had to make sacrifices from a young age. Being a footballer while playing for a team on the other side of Dublin presented its challenges.

After school, she relied on teammates for lifts, but more often than not, she would take public transport to train and matches.

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“As a child, she displayed remarkable professionalism,” McQuillan adds. “When you have training a few times a week and a match, it consumes your entire week – and on top of that, you have school. It’s a significant sacrifice at such a tender age.”

“A child should be enjoying their life, but Katie found her own way to do so through football, albeit not in the conventional teenage manner. She was diligent, keeping her head down and focusing on her work. That encapsulated her perfectly. She adored football and cherished her team.”

 

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