Cast your mind back to the 2010 All Ireland Final and the star of the show for Dublin’s first All Ireland title win was Sinead Aherne who shot the lights on the day with a personal tally of 2-07 with 2-04 of that total from play. It was a sparkling display from the St Sylvester’s Star who made her senior debut in 2003 and is one of the most revered forwards to ever play the game.
Sinead is an intelligent player on and off the ball, with a quick turn of pace and an ability to find an inch of space in the tightest of defences, add in the fact she is one of the most prolific scorers in the game from open play and frees and it’s easy to see why she has been a nightmare for defences to curtail.
During her career Sinead has won 1 All Ireland title, 9 Leinster titles, 2 NFL Division 2 titles and 4 All Star Awards, an impressive haul of medals in anyone’s books, but Sinead has also suffered the other side of the coin, losing four All Ireland finals in 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2014.
But after many years at the coal face for Dublin and directly after the devastating loss by a point to Cork in the 2014 All Ireland Final, Sinead decided to take a break from football and go traveling for a year.
Sinead returned last September just before the All Ireland Final, but had to agonisingly watch from the sidelines as Dublin once again were narrowly beaten by Cork.
Recharged and rejuvenated Sinead returned to the Dublin fold this season in search again for that elusive second All Ireland title. Aherne admitted herself recently that because of the year away from football it wasn’t just a case of slotting back in to her previous form and rhythm and the four time All Star was thankful for the National Football League campaign to get her physical and mental fitness back up to speed.
Dublin have reaped the benefits of having the refreshed and fully fit St Sylvester’s player back in their ranks this championship.
Sinead has chipped in with an impressive 5-30 in the championship to date, but it’s not just her scoring prowess that she has added to Dublin team this season, she has also brought her wealth of experience, guile and leadership to the team which is invaluable particularly with the age profile of team so young.
Sinead looks like she has peaked just perfectly for the business end of the season. She won the player of the match award for her displays in the All Ireland quarter final against Donegal and the All Ireland semi final victory over Mayo where she scored 2-06 and held her nerve to score the winning point in dying seconds.
It would be a brave person to bet against Sinead making it a hat-trick of player of the match awards in today’s All Ireland Final and a similar scoring return from the ace forward against Cork could very well see the Brendan Martin Cup residing in the capital for at least the next twelve month’s.
Whatever the result today one thing is for sure, when you look around for a role model for young women to look up to and aspire to, then you need look no further than Dublin’s classy forward Sinead Aherne.