Gregory McGonigle is one of the most experienced managers in Ladies football and is currently enjoying his 3rd term in charge of Dublin.
This Sunday his team will take on Westmeath in the TG4 Leinster Senior Championship final where they will be aiming to lift the Mary Ramsbottom Memorial Cup for a 5th year in a row.
Dublin LGFA spoke to Gregory ahead of Sunday’s big game and put a couple of questions to the Derry native, here is what he had to say ….
Q: How did you come to get involved in managing / coaching Ladies Gaelic football?
GMc: A group of girls in my home club in Dungiven asked many years ago and then I was coaching underage boy’s football then work took me to Belfast. While there I was asked by University teams to get involved and I have been coaching every year since 2002/2003.
Q: Which football or sporting manager past or present do you admire the most and why?
GMc: There are loads of really brilliant managers across all sports but I would have to say that one’s that spring to mind are Brian Cody, Micky Harte and Eamonn Ryan for their longevity and legacy that they have created.
I also believe Jim Gavin will join that group as there is definitely something very special about Dublin at the minute.
Q: What has been the best and the worst moments of your management career so far?
GMc: Highs and Lows are all a part of being involved in sport. I guess winning the O’Connor Cup with UUJ in 2008, Inter-pros in 2008 with Ulster and the National league with Monaghan 2012.
Then the three U-21 All Irelands with Dublin in 2014, 2015 and 2016, all very special in their own way as national titles.
Losing the All Ireland Final in 2014 was possibly the worst and it was more the heartbreak for such a brilliant group of players but I think it has made them stronger as a unit.
Q: Who was your sports hero growing up?
GMc: I have 5 older brothers and they would have all had some part in me playing football.
I have older twin brothers (Barry & Martin) and they would have played for Derry Minors and U-21’s and won Ulster, All Ireland medals with County and Hogan Cups with St Patricks Maghera so definitely my brothers in the early years and then Anthony Tohill was a complete footballer and was a huge part of Derry winning their only Senior All-Ireland.
Q: Tell us about your first game in charge of a Dublin team, what was the experience like?
GMc: My first game was against Kerry (2014) in the National league in Parnells GAA club in Coolock and thankfully we won.
The experience was a good one although I think it did come with pressure more so from myself as I had come from coaching Monaghan in 2013 and wanted to get a positive start to the league.
Q: Which team was the toughest opposition you ever faced?
GMc: I think Cork have been the toughest opponent for all teams over the last decade, as much as there has and are great teams outside of them.
Q: What sporting event in the world would you love to attend?
GMc: World Cup Final, Champions League Final or Lions Tour.
Q: Which sports would you watch apart from Gaelic Games?
GMc: I would watch most sports, Soccer, Golf, GAA (all codes) and would watch some Basketball and American Football.
Q: Apart from Dublin of course what other team (any code) would you like to manage?
GMc: I am very happy in Dublin and I prefer to think in the present, but Derry men’s Team would be a job that would be interesting to do and Tottenham Hotspurs would be a good job as well !!
Q: If you could change one rule in Ladies football, what would it be?
GMc: Where do I start – but most obvious would be sin bin rule.
Q: If there was a transfer market in Ladies football, which player would you like to see sign to Dublin and why?
GMc: Sure it would have to be Hannah Noonan, a seriously talented footballer and a top class person (plus she has a worse accent than me).
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?
GMc: In my years involved it has got better but there is so much more that can be done.
I think the Liberty Sponsorship in Camogie has really stood out with really strong images of female athletes.
The images from Lidl earlier in the year definitely increased player profiles and ladies football during National league, but we have had no real promotion of any of the Provincial championships except for video footage from Jerome Quinn.
My biggest issue at times is with how players are treated or even interviewed.
The Players are not only top quality athletes and sportspeople excelling in their chosen sport, but they are also really intelligent at analysing games and questions they are asked should be to highlight this and not what is your favourite colour etc.
TG4 Leinster Senior Final
Dublin v Westmeath
Sunday July 10th,
Venue: O’Moore Park, Portlaoise,