Former Dublin Goalkeeper Cliodhna O’Connor Insists It’s Not Just A Two-Horse Race For The Senior Championship Title

Former Dublin goalkeeper Cliodhna O’Connor coaching a group of children.

By Jackie Cahill

FORMER Dublin goalkeeper Cliodhna O’Connor insists that it’s not just a two-horse race for the 2019 TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship title.

Holders Dublin and Lidl NFL Division 1 champions Cork are viewed as the front-runners to lift the Brendan Martin Cup at Croke Park on September 15.

But O’Connor, who was in goal for Dublin when they won a very first senior title in 2010, says that Donegal and Galway can also have a say.

Dublin and Cork are scheduled to meet in a potential semi-final, should they top their round-robin groups and come safely through the quarter-finals.

And O’Connor reflected:

“It doesn’t matter when Cork meet Dublin – it will always be a great game.

“They played each other in the group stages of the League and again in the semi-final – and both games were really entertaining.”

Cork lost to Dublin in the 2018 TG4 All-Ireland Final but they scored two League victories over the Sky Blues in 2019.

And O’Connor added:

“Whenever they meet, they always draw the best out of each other, which is what you want.

“They’re two teams with that great rivalry and because they’re well balanced, it makes for a great spectacle of football.

“Cork have proven that they have the ability to have the measure of Dublin – that’s for sure.

“But we’ve seen that when Donegal and Galway get it right, they’re really tough opponents.

“Both of those teams have shown great things in the early stages of the championship but underperformed in bigger games.

“If they get performances in the latter stages, they’ll be tough to beat.”

On the prospect of another Cork-Dublin class, O’Connor noted:

“If those two teams meet, it’s one of the key games of the championship.

“Speaking from an ex-player point of view, you never, ever want to lose to Cork, and they’re the same.

“I met (former Cork star) Nollaig Cleary after one of the finals, when we were both retired.

“We were both saying how the rivalry was alive and well, and that neither team would give an inch.

“They beat us a lot when I was playing but now we’ve turned the tables a little bit. But it’s still swings and roundabouts – it’s never a done deal.”