This Sunday reigning champions Dublin take on Westmeath in the TG4 All Ireland Senior Championship final in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise. Dublin and Raheny sharp shooter, Siobhan Woods took some time out from team training to answer a couple of questions – check out what she had to say!
Q: How did you come to play Gaelic football?
SW: I was only 4 when I joined my local GAA club Raheny and to be honest I was so young that even though I know I enjoyed it when I started I don’t really remember what drove me to go down in the first place!
I suppose I was a really sporty, competitive kid and my family was very involved in sport. My mam played hockey and my dad and older brother both played for Raheny and I think I just wanted to be like them!
SW: I’d probably say my teammates. I’ve been lucky to have some great coaches who have really brought me on and my family have always been really supportive but the most significant people for me have always been the girls I was playing alongside.
Some of us have been playing together since the U10 Academy, and then when I came into the senior team first there were so many older players who had accomplished so much and who I learned so much from.
So I think the amount I’ve learnt from everyone I’ve played with, as well as the drive you get in a competitive team environment where you’re all striving for success together are hugely influential.
Q: What has been the best – and the worst – moments of your sporting career so far?
SW: I would probably put the best and worst moment down to one day, the 2014 All Ireland Final. Each of the U16, minor and two U21 all Irelands I’ve won were all fantastic but winning the semi-final in 2014 to make the senior final after 3 years of quarter-final heartbreak was an amazing feeling.
Playing in a senior All Ireland final in Croke Park is always the big dream when you start playing as a kid. Unfortunately it finished in the worst moment of my sporting career with us relinquishing a big lead to lose by 1 point. It was an absolutely gut-wrenching defeat but it is a big driving force now.
Q: Who was your sporting hero growing up?
SW: When I was very young I was a big fan of all the Dublin ladies players especially Mary Nevin. I remember Caroline Duggan who was PRO in Raheny at the time brought Mary out to one of the club camps. I got to kick some frees with her and I was delighted. A few years later we were on the same team!
Q: Tell us about your senior debut for Dublin?
SW: My first start was in the league semi-final against Cavan in 2011. I scored 2-3 and was delighted – I probably haven’t scored that much since! My senior championship debut was a disappointing day against Cork in the 2011 All Ireland Quarter Final. I came on towards the end of what was a really tight game. Unfortunately we lost by a point that day.
Q: Who was the toughest opponent you ever faced?
SW: Sinead Goldrick. There is no more tenacious player in the game; she makes you work for everything you get.
Q: What sporting event in the world would you love to attend?
SW: The Olympics
Q: Which sports would you watch apart from Gaelic games?
SW: I’d watch most sports really; it varies depending on the time of year. I’d be a fan of rugby, athletics, hockey, American football, soccer.
Q: With the championship now up and running, what is your training schedule like?
SW: It’s probably less hectic now than it would be earlier in the year when you’re balancing college football with county pre-season and league. At the minute we’d be doing 3 pitch sessions a week as a team, with one or two gym sessions and some individual skill work as well. It varies depending on how close we are to a big game, where rest would be important.
Q: If you could change one rule in Ladies football, what would it be?
SW: Get rid of the sin-bin. 10 mins out of a 60 minute game is a huge amount and often it’s either much too harsh a punishment for a low-level yellow-card offence or is used as kind of a cop-out for a serious infringement instead of a red card.
Q: If there was a transfer market in Ladies football, which player would you like Dublin to sign and why?
I think we’re pretty happy with what we’ve got! But if I had to pick I’d probably say Fiona McHale, a really talented footballer with a big work rate.
Q: With the recent sponsorship investment in the LGFA by LIDL along with the announcement of one million in government funding for Ladies football and camogie, do you think enough is being done to promote women in sport?
SW: It’s definitely fantastic to hear that there’s some strong financial support coming in to Ladies football and Camogie, and there have been strides in promotion of the game this year.
But unfortunately we’re yet to see any significant changes in match-day crowds.
Recently there’s been a lot of talk in the media and online, what I’d like to see more of is just people coming out to watch the games and show their support that way.
Reigning champions Dublin play Westmeath in the TG4 Leinster Senior Championship final this Sunday July 10th at 4pm in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.