Dublin Senior Ladies Football Press Night.
Ahead of their All Ireland Quarter tussle with Kerry on Saturday,we spoke to Dublin Senior Ladies Football Manager Gregory McGonigle,Senior Captain Sinead Goldrick,U21All Ireland Winning Captain And Senior Squad Member Siobhan Woods And Star Defender Sorcha Furlong about their upcoming Semi,the under 21 success,being home from travelling and lots more.
Dublin’s star defender Sorcha Furlong missed last season due to being away travelling and she spoke about how easy it was a decision to come back into the squad. “The phase absence makes the heart grow fonder comes to mind,when your away from home you miss the things that are dearest to you,whether that’s family,friends and also in my case Football. Once Dublin were happy to have me back it wasn’t a difficult choice.”
Sorcha has noticed big changes with the squad this year compared to the last one she played on. “Yes it’s hugely positive this year,the biggest change for me is essentially in personnel. A lot of the girls are were on the minors and under sixteens a few years ago. The squad has a lot of youth in it now and I’m essentially the aul wan on the team and at twenty eight I think that’s a bit harsh but hey that’s the label I’ve been given this year.
With the talent that has come in and is also coming through Sorcha says it has raised everyone’s game. “It’s the most competitive I’ve seen it for positions this year,it’s probably the year that I feel least secure in my spot. The competition is really creeping up on you,with the extra speed and extra little skills the younger players are bringing you have to make sure your talents come to the fore and your experience holds some sort of weight when it comes to team selections.”
Under twenty one captain Siobhan Woods said the All Ireland winning campaign helped both the younger players and also the senior squad. ” it definitely helped,it seems a long time ago now but it was fantastic. It really helped the under twenty one players coming into the senior squad and although it was a great achievement it was also used as a stepping stone to build on and has given us great confidence.”
“It was great to have Greg as the manager of both the under twenty ones and the seniors as we were all singing off the same hymn sheet and it really helped that we were training with the seniors the whole time which really helped the twenty ones season by allowing us to train and play against. The really important thing was that both squads were playing the same style of football,so you weren’t having to readjust when you went into the senior squad and you weren’t trying to get all different things in your head as it was all the one thing which was great.”
Captain Sinead Goldrick divulged what is motivating the team and also how frustrating it can be sitting on the bench watching such a talented team on the field and wondering how you will get a starting jersey. “We lost at this stage the last three years and the heartbreak is still there but it’s the motivation from those defeats that is really going to drive us on. The big thing this year is it’s not the same squad that lost those three quarter finals so the focus has been totally on the Kerry game and concentrating on that with the present team and not on the past.”
“It can be frustrating said Sinead sitting on the bench,it’s great watching your team,seeing how well they are doing and you are delighted to be part of that setup. But then at the back of your head you are fighting your own little battle to get on the team. I’m fully recovered from my knee injury and I’ve been training the last while so hopefully I have done enough to cement a place on the starting fifteen. But not knowing if I have or not just shows credit to how strong our players and our bench is and that everyone is replaceable and that any number of players can step in and take your place,so it’s up to you to get your jersey back.”
All three girls are expecting a tough challenge against Kerry and know they will have to work even harder to get the scores to push them over the line and this was echoed by their manager Greg McGonigle. “At this stage of the year it will be a tough game no matter who you play,Kerry were All Ireland finalists in 2012,Munster Champions and Division two league winners last year so they have been doing serious things the last few years,they have also made the semi finals the last four years,so we know they are going to be a serious force,they have a really good goalkeeper,strong defence and a really good midfield. Then you look at their forwards and you might get a little worried with the couple of All Star forwards in there ranks,they will be serious opposition.
Greg is not worried about the six week gap since Dublin last played or that they will be caught cold on the day due to the lack of action. “Dublin won their third Leinster title in a row says Greg so it’s not something new to the players. I think if you look for excuses you will find them. We knew sitting down with the fixtures committee at the start of the year that there would be a big gap between the Leinster final and quarter finals. We planned to be Leinster champions so we knew what to expect and sure it was the same when I managed Monaghan,the gap was the same it was never something that bothered them we played in three quarter finals and won them all so I’m well use to preparing teams for quarter finals”
“As far as getting caught cold on the day there is no chance of that. If you were at our in-house games you would see the players were going flat to the mat and we played a couple of seriously tough challenge games,so from my point of view I would be confident in our own ability as regards to how intense training was. It was also good to go away and train and work on things.”
“The other good thing that was afforded to us with Kerry going through the qualifiers was that we have been able to watch Kerry and how they are going to play, Kerry possibly don’t know how we are going to come to the table and if they are looking at us from a Leinster point of view,they wouldn’t have really learnt anything because none of our opponents put us to the pin of our collar. But we would have learnt more about Kerry from the Donegal game than they did about us. So we have been happy enough to come in under the radar and get our own perpetration done.”
Greg was a surprised by the style of football Kerry have adopted. “I’m a bit surprised the purists down in Kerry have resorted to that northern style of football, I don’t know if Pat Spillane will be happy. Obviously the Kerry manager believes this is the style that will win them an All Ireland.”
“So we know it will be a blanket defence and it will be about our girls trying to be patient and calm on the day,but the most important thing for the game is that we pick an intelligent team that are able to make the correct decisions on the ball and I think thankfully we have those players in Dublin. We will want to be setting the tempo of the game,get out of the blocks early and get a few scores on the board and try and force Kerry into a lot of mistakes.”