PREPARING FOR SUCCESS WITH DUBLIN LADIES GREG McGONIGLE.
Dublin Ladies take on Cork in the Tg4 All-Ireland Final at 4pm in Croke Park, this Sunday September 28th, for a grandstand display of one of the most closely contested fixtures in the sport.
DubZone sat down with the man leading Dublin’s All-Ireland charge, manager Gregory McGonigle, ahead of the big day.
In your first year in charge of Dublin you’ve won an U21 All-Ireland and are now preparing for an All-Ireland Final. You must be happy with how things have come together so quickly?
Yeh, the U21s was a bonus and it provided a great platform to develop and bring success to our younger players, and that enhanced the Senior project then as well.
I have to say the talent was there when I got involved and it was just my job to get it all going in the right direction.
There’s great backing and support from the County Board in Dublin, and the clubs have also done a great job of freeing up players three, four nights a week. All of that is helping us get to where we want to be.
On this squad, you have a good mix of younger players who have enjoyed underage success as well as more experienced players who are seasoned veterans at Senior inter-county level. How have you managed to get the most out of a diverse group?
We keep everything together as one team. We don’t go out on the field until everyone is read; we eat together – management included.
When players like Carla Rowe and Molly Lamb, who are just up from Minor, are mixing with Denise Masterson and Lyndsey Peat, you see they all have similar personalities and characteristics – they’re all achievers. It’s our job then as management to take this group of achievers and give them a common goal, and a way to work together for it.
It’s easy to make too much of the ‘team-bonding’ and things like that. We train well so the girls can play well. It’s hard work but it’s very close-knit, like a family. It has to be when you’re spending so much time together.
You had a good win against Kerry and a great battle against Galway. Both games were different styles with their own challenges, but how do you think they help you prepare for Cork?
You never know what exactly you’re going to get with Cork, and their record speaks for itself. We just have to prepare our players to perform to their optimum on the day, and believe in them that they will do that.
We can’t control how Cork are preparing or will line out, no more than we could with Kerry or Galway or anyone else, but we have to be able to answer the questions that are asked of us on the 28th. More than answering the questions, we want to push on and ask more questions of Cork than they do of us.
And after the one-week turnaround between the Quarter-Final and the Semi-Final, how important is the time to prepare for the All-Ireland final on September 28th?
Very important. The Semi-Final against Galway was such a tough game, emotionally and mentally and players like Carla Rowe, Sineád Goldrick and others who put in really big performances in both games that week were very fatigued by the end of it.
It was important for everyone that players got time to go back to their clubs for a short while before we got back into team preparations.
Looking forward, we just want to prepare every player to be ready to go for the day, and it’s great to now have the time we need to practice, rehearse and perfect the game style and plan that we hope will be enough for a Dublin win on All-Ireland Sunday.
The Tg4 Senior All-Ireland Final of Dublin Vs Cork throws in at 4pm in Croke Park, on Sunday, September 28th. Tickets are still available from www.ladiesgaelic.ie or tickets.ie
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