Dublin LGFA is very fortunate to have an incredible group of people working across all age groups with our County players.
They are unbelievably focused, fully committed and dedicated to serving Dublin while doing it all on a voluntary basis.
From U14 right up to senior level the time, work and commitment that our management personal give to the blue jersey is second to none.
Ahead of Wednesday night’s U16 All Ireland final versus Kerry, we took time out to chat to Lee Moroney (U16 coach) who in his third season with the County is looking forward to his first All-Ireland final with Dublin
Q: How did you come to get involved in coaching Ladies Gaelic football?
LM: I was already involved in coaching and training boy’s teams in my club St Anne’s when I took over the training of our U14 girls’ team in and around 2005.
Their coach and manager could no longer commit due to work obligations. I had done some coaching with the girls before but only on an ad-hoc basis so when I took them over it was meant to be on a temporary measure, but two years later I was still coaching and managing this group of girls.
I moved on to work and coach with the St. Anne’s adult ladies team before I was asked to get involved with the County U14 team, for the 2013 / 2014 season.
Q: Which football or sporting coach past or present do you admire the most and why?
LM: I liked the way Tyrone changed the intensity of the tackle back in 2003, so I would admire Mickey Harte as a manager especially for being such a game changer.
Q: Who was your sports hero growing up and why?
LM: My sporting heroes growing up would have been the Republic of Irish squad who played in Italia ’90 and USA ‘94. My GAA heroes would have been the Dublin team of 1995 who won the All Ireland especially Jason Sherlock.
I had only started playing Gaelic football for St. Anne’s GAA Club the previous year at U12 and Sherlock was a player I really admired.
Q: Tell us about your first training session in charge of a Dublin team, what was that experience like?
LM: First of all I was very honoured and deemed it a huge privilege to be asked to get involved with Dublin when approached by Fergal Brennan (at the end of 2013) with the view to being part of his Dublin U14 management team of 2014.
My first training session after we had concluded the trials was a Friday night out in Ballymun Kickhams. I had set up three stations after the initial warm up with shooting, a small sided hand passing game and another small sided game concentrating on keeping possession.
I suppose I was nervous and excited at the same time much like the players. I hadn’t realized how hard a team trained at this level or how dedicated players and management would have to be.
For example to be out training on Saturday or Sunday mornings before 8am, it’s a huge commitment for everyone involved with the team including parents.
Q: At underage level there is a call from many within the sport to place more emphasis on player development, Camogie for example do not organise U14 Inter County championships. Should the LGFA follow suit?
LM: My own personal opinion is that U16 level is time enough to introduce Inter County Games to players at both provincial and All Ireland level. At U13 and U14 ages players should be playing in regional and national blitz days, without a competitive edge.
Then at U15 level introduce a Leinster Blitz and an All-Ireland Blitz which would act as grading competition for the U16 championship the following year.
If you look at Dublin GAA and the success of their men’s teams especially in Gaelic Football over the last 5 years at Senior, Minor and U21 grades.
The proof is in the “pudding”, in Dublin GAA player development is central at U13, U14 and U15 grades. Dublin GAA don’t play “competitive” games up until U16.
When players move on into Minor they play Leinster League and Championship. I think the weight of winning a Leinster medal or All Ireland is a bit too heavy to carry for a young girl of 13 or 14 years of age.
Q: Gaelic football and indeed the coaching of sport in general has become very scientific in recent times, do you think this is a good or bad thing?
LM: I think science can benefit coaching greatly, the key is when to use it. It can give you the extra edge particularly around areas like nutrition and hydration so I think it’s a good thing. The more knowledge you have can definitely improve you greatly as a coach.
Q: Apart from Dublin of course what other team (any code) would you like to coach?
LM: I would like to coach a Premiership Team for the experience to see what level professional athletes operate at.
Q: If you could change one rule in Ladies football, what would it be?
LM: I would change that Sin Bin rule so it is only applied to adult players it should not be used in competitions from U14 to Minor level.
Q: There has been a few negative comments on social media about the U16 All Ireland Final between Dublin and Kerry being fixed to be played on a Wednesday night, what are your views on this issue?
LM: I personally think that it’s a huge honour for the County and for all the girls to get to an All-Ireland Final. Ideally the final should be played on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon at 2 or 3pm in order to allow more people attend and support both sets of teams.
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?
LM: The Lidl sponsorship will help raise the game’s profile so much more especially with the TV ads and internet advertising via social media and websites.
The announcement of a million euro by the government is very little if spread across all players who play inter-county Camogie and Ladies football, it should be at least double that.
I think that more should be done to promote Ladies football in primary schools and at secondary school level with club coaches being supported in schools more by the LGFA, grassroots development is key to the continued growth of the sport.
At inter county adult level players should have standard mileage allowance and hot meals after all training sessions. For underage County teams, breakfast should be provided for the players along with lunch packs on away games.
These to me are the areas where financial investment should be made to help develop the women’s sport more and to bring it in line with the boys/men.
Dublin U16’s play Kerry this Wednesday July 27th in the All Ireland Final, at 7pm in McDonagh Park, Nenagh. #COYGIB