Ask anyone knowledgeable about Welsh women’s football who is Llanfair United’s star player and there is a good chance a high percentage would choose Mary Griffiths.
For several seasons now, Mary has been a pivotal performer for a Llanfair outfit which became a major force in the North Wales Women’s League.
She was a key player in the teams which finished joint champions in 2018-19 and outright title winners in the much-curtailed 2019-20 season.
Born on June 22, 1990, Mary celebrates her 31st birthday today.
With her high-bunched hair, formidable height, elegant footwork, speed, dribbling skills and scoring ability she is a highly recognisable figure on the North and Mid-Wales soccer scene.
Having three brothers, it was hard for Mary to avoid getting involved with football and she began playing at a very young age.
She started with Llanfair Boys at around 8 years old and played for them until the age of about 12/13.
After that she represented Wales for a couple of years and once aged 14 started with ladies football.
She joined Meifod Ladies (who are now Llanfair Ladies) and also had a season at Shrewsbury Town before going to university.
Although a prolific goal scorer, Mary is not an out-and-out striker, preferring the No 10 role just in behind the forwards.
One of Mary’s most memorable achievements was winning the Central Wales Cup with Llanfair in 2017-18.
The all-dark blues were aiming to stop Aberystwyth Town winning the cup for a sixth year in a row and succeeded, Mary scoring twice in a 3-2 win.
As for players she has played alongside she rates the most, Mary said: “Probably our striker Gemma Jones, the way she can turn a player and find the goal from anywhere and make it look so easy.
“Also our centre back Mary Bailey – best centre-back I’ve ever played with and she will head anything.”
And her own strengths and weaknesses? Mary sees heading the ball as one of her lesser skills, while she believes beating a player and picking a pass are her best assets.
Primary school teacher Mary certainly hands out plenty of lessons on the football pitch when it comes to finishing.
In 2014/15, she netted 17 times in 18 matches, managed 18 goals in 19 outings in 2016-17, then in 2017-18 scored on 21 occasions in 14 games.
The 2018-19 campaign also saw her bag 21 goals. She is probably not far off the 100-mark for the club.
Happy birthday Mary, hope the season to come will be successful for you and Llanfair United in the eight-strong Tier 2 North league.