Dublin Senior Ladies Football Semi-Final Press Night.

Ahead of this weekends All Ireland Semi-Final clash with Galway we spoke to Dublin Senior Ladies Football Manager Gregory McGonigle,Senior Captain Sinead Goldrick,Star Forward Lyndsey Davey,Defensive enforcer Siobhan McGrath And Midfield Maestro Denise Masterson about their Quarter Final victory,Saturdays Semi opponents Galway,midfield partnerships and lots lots more.

On Monday night in Parnell Park there was a definite buzz and electricity around the ladies senior football players and management who were in attendance for their press night for this Saturdays All Ireland Semi Final against Galway. After finally getting over their Quarter final hoodoo two days previously the anticipation and excitement was understandable as finally that monkey was off their backs after three years of heartbreak.

“We were just delighted to get over the quarter final,we are in the semi final and it’s a new game,our focus is just on Galway now”said Lynsey Davey when asked about last Saturdays victory over Kerry. The relief was echoed by Denise Masterson “Very relieved but it was a bit of an anticlimax in terms that it wasn’t a free flowing game of football and we have a lot to work on.”

Defending colossus Siobhan McGrath was quietly confident that they were going to prevail in the quarters. “It was a great relief and a very enjoyable moment,some people might have been thinking it was a bit of a monkey on our backs the last couple of years. But we were quietly confident as we knew what we were capable of and we knew if we got a performance out of the girls we would prevail. But it is definitely a relief and it’s exactly where we want to be and where we aimed for at the start of the year.

Captain Sinead Goldrick admits it took a while to sink in but Dublin have quickly moved on from the victory and all eyes are on the Semi. “I think it didn’t really sink in till that evening that we had made it past the quarter finals said Sinead. It really was a big day but something that we won’t be talking any further about,but it was a big day for Dublin ladies football.Also when Kerry changed their game plan in the second half it did make a positive impact for them but it was great for Dublin too because we had to adapt quickly to the different style they played and it will be very beneficial to us going forward knowing we can adapt to whatever is thrown at us.”

Manager Gregory McGonigle was also thankful to have got over the line but was looking forward and not to the past. “Ye obviously you go out at the start and your aim is to get to a semi final,thankfully the girls carried out the instructions to the best of their ability and thankfully that was enough to see off a very strong Kerry side.”

“The girls should be more relaxed now that the so called monkey is off their backs,personally I never made too much about it,if they hadn’t of got over the quarter final this year that would be this year,every year is a new year you can’t look back,you can only look forward. Even for ourselves (the management) we have looked quickly at the Kerry game and we will analyze it during the week from the point of view of seeing where we can improve,but now we will be looking at Galway. We look forward instead of thinking about what’s gone,likewise that goes back to the league final and twenty ones it’s all in the past it doesn’t count for anything.

After six weeks waiting on the sidelines for their quarter final Dublin only have a week turnaround for their semi but even after such a tough game against the kingdom the players and management were not worried about the short amount of time to get over last weekend. “No it’s fine Galway have exactly the same time to prepare so no team will have an advantage in terms of being rested” Lyndsey Davey stated.

Denise Masterson was equally unperturbed by it “We have youth on our side,well most of the team do anyway, we have done a few recovery sessions and everyone is raring to go so I don’t think the seven day turnaround will effect the squad.

“I think with the seven day turnaround you don’t really have time to think or get nervous added Sinead Goldrick and you have to concentrate on your recovery and put all your focus on Galway,so hopefully the quick turnaround will also put aside any nerves.”

Manager Gregory McGonigle also brushed aside any doubt the short time between the Quarters and the Semi would affect the squad. “No not at all,ideally you’d prefer two weeks to prepare,but fortunately we are playing Galway who are in the same situation and not Cork or Armagh who have been maybe resting for two weeks. But look when you get into the business end of the championship,games can come thick and fast and obviously after having a very good victory over Kerry the camp is very positive. We went and did a recovery session in the pool straight after the game and finished our recovery on Sunday morning and the players that didn’t play on Saturday did a bit of
training,so again that’s everyone back on an even keel for selection so we are happy enough.”

Dublin’s midfield has been flying along like a well oiled machine with Denise Masterson and Molly Lamb combining brilliantly alongside each other, Denise was not surprised how well the duo were complimenting each other. “To be honest myself and Molly are probably quite similar in terms of how we would play in midfield. I think Molly is fantastic she has come on really well and she is great at communicating. She is very receptive to anything you want to share with her so I’m not surprised how well she is doing. Molly has a great head on her shoulders and I’m really enjoying playing with her.”

Dublin’s defence has been particularly scrooge like this season and ace defender Siobhan McGrath puts this down to the work that has been done on the training field. “There has been a lot of work done on tackling drills and perfecting the art of tackling, we are also getting our back line to perform as a unit with plenty of communicating and making sure we know what each other is doing so we are not leaving any area weak for opposition players to come running through.”

Dublin and Galway have not met in championship action very often in recent years but they have always been on Dublin’s radar. ” Galway have always been building expressed Lyndsey Davey. They have a great underage structure in place and have won the last couple of minor All Ireland’s. The last encounter we had with them was in the qualifiers in 2011 and of course on a bigger occasion back in 2004 in the All Ireland were they beat us,so it will be nice to get another crack at them this Saturday.”

Denise Masterson always thought of them as the dark horses this year. “Individually they have very strong players within the squad and they play a very fast free flowing game of football.”

Greg McGonigle was under no illusion as to how big a challenge Galway will be on Saturday. ” they are a seriously strong side,obviously any team that beats Monaghan in the championship would have to be given serious credit,Monaghan were All Ireland Finalists last year. Galway have won three Connaught Titles in a row and were beaten semi-finalists last year. They have added three excellent minor players to their squad this year in Olivia Divilly,Nicola Ward and Louise Ward, also they have seven players still there that played Dublin in 2004,and the girls from 04 like Ger Conneally and Annette Clarke are playing serious roles around the middle. Lorna Joyce is just rolling back the years at full forward,so we know we are going to have to be playing even better than we did against Kerry to beat them. Galway are a very attack minded side with great runners coming from deep. That’s going to test us in our work rate and our tackles, hopefully we can answer those tests and impose our game on Galway.”

Sinead Goldrick was quick to point out that on Saturday Dublin will have to be disciplined. ” Galway are a tough team and we have to be disciplined during the game. Out forwards are some of the best in the country,so we need to get the ball into them fast and they will do the damage. I think last week was a step up and our passing wasn’t as good as we would want it to be,so we have to have a big improvement in that on Saturday. ”

Playing styles make for great games and with both Dublin and Galway preferring a more open style of play the players and management are expecting a more open game this weekend. “I think both teams prefer an open style of play enthused Siobhan McGrath. I think fitness will be a factor on Saturday as that type of free flowing football involves a lot of running and on the day it will be down to whichever team is the most hungry for victory.”

Denise Masterson agreed it will be free flowing. “I think both teams will be just going at it and they will both be concentrating on the strengths going forward, so I would be hoping it’s a free flowing game with us coming out on top.”

Gregory McGonigle was more inclined to believe it will be more a battle of wits than styles that will win the game. “Look on any given day you can say ye a style will suit you,Galway play that style of football because it suits them. But we would be happy enough that we can find the answers to play against Galway and to get our style going. I think Dublin are a seriously good football team and we move the ball well,we wouldn’t be too dissimilar to Galway in how we try play inside up, but it’s going to be a battle of wits and who ever produces a performance on the day will come out on top. -Nigel


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