GREGORY McGONIGLE: “LEINSTER HAS MISSED A BIG OPPORTUNITY TO PROMOTE LADIES FOOTBALL”

Dublin boss Gregory McGonigle insists that Leinster has missed a big opportunity to promote ladies football, by not switching tomorrow’s Leinster Final to Croke Park.

There was plenty of media attention in the last week about pushing back tomorrow’s game by a week and playing it in Croke Park as the curtain raiser to the men’s Leinster Final which involves the same two counties.

Speaking to We Are Dublin at last Monday’s press night in Parnell Park, McGonigle said that it is a lost chance, especially when these kind of moves have been commonplace in other provinces.

“Coming from Derry and having managed in Ulster, it’s not the first time that they have done it, when I was manager of Monaghan ladies they played Armagh in front of Monaghan’s men in Healy Park in 2011, we also played in front of the Donegal v Tyrone men’s game when we met Tyrone in Ballybofey.

“It seems to be a continuous thread. When Ulster GAA organise their championship, they do it as a combined unit of ladies’ football, camogie, hurling and football. As much as we knew it probably wouldn’t happen this year, it’s maybe something to force down the line.”

Although the game being switched to Croke Park didn’t happen, McGonigle said it made no difference to the focus or hunger of his squad in their pursuit of more Leinster honours.

“The group of players are delighted they are in a Leinster final. If it was in Croke Park, it would have been brilliant, but it’s not, but it’s not going to affect us in Portlaoise.

Gregory though would like to see the people who raised their concern about switching the game and took to social media to let their feelings be known, to now back up those words with action and travel to Portlaoise.

“The key thing now is, let’s get off the couch and away from the shopping trip and let’s get a 1,000 people there. The men’s footballers aren’t there, the hurlers aren’t on. Why wouldn’t you bring the sons and daughters along?”

Although Dublin had a comfortable victory over Westmeath a few weeks back in the group stages of the championship, Gregory is reading nothing into that result and knows tomorrow’s Final will be a whole new ball game.

“If they improve by 50%, we have to go up by 50%. We believe our first touch can definitely improve; our work rate can go up. We pride ourselves on hitting targets and our tackle count wasn’t up as high as we wanted. It’s something we will focus on.

“Our conversion rate and shot selection, too. If we look after the targets we have and get close to them, that should look after the result.”

McGonigle has been very happy with the contribution of Siobhan Woods and Lauren Magee and also the impact since she moved from defence to midfield of Sorcha Furlong, who has brought a calmness, cleverness and experience to the Dublin engine room.

Gregory is also impressed with players like Ciara Ruddy who has done very well coming in to games from the bench and Gregory spoke of the importance of the contribution of the whole squad in the modern game.

“Like the men, it’s about the people coming off the bench and adding to the team and this is something we do talk about.”

TG4 Leinster Senior Final
Dublin v Westmeath
Sunday July 10th,
Venue: O’Moore Park Portlaoise,
Throw-In: 4pm.

Image Credit: GAApics.com

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