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U21 games 'will stand to the girls' – O'Curry

THIS summer saw the first flight for the Aisling McGing All-Ireland U21 Championship. And Dublin manager, Fintan O'Curry, has led the applause.

"I have been screaming for it since 2010. It's vital that we bridge the gap between minor and adult inter-county. There has been too much of a drop-off," asserts Fintan.

Dublin played three matches, beating Wexford but losing to Meath and Laois. "Although we didn't get through to the knock-out stages, we are pleased with the way the girls performed.

"We had a very young group.

"We have six or seven girls on the squad that never played inter-county football before.

"So that in itself is a big plus."

COLLEAGUES

Fintan's managerial colleagues included Gerry Barrett, Ken Murphy, John Caffrey, Judy Murphy and Karen Hopkins. Karen's presence added that extra dash of panache. She wore the Ballyboden and Dublin jerseys with so much distinction.

"This experience will stand to the girls in the future," adds Fintan. "It's very important to keep the players involved as they come out of minor.

"The key thing is to keep them interested ... to keep them playing.

"You can talk all you like about inter-county football and what it involves and all the rest of it, but you have to actually experience it yourself.

"It's only then that girls appreciate the intensity and the commitment required for inter-county level. Talking about it just goes over their heads. They have to live it.

"That's why the U21 Championship has been a wonderful opportunity for them to grasp what it's all about. And that's one of the real benefits of the new competition.

"It gives players the chance to come into the set-up, train with girls who are of a very high standard and then to sample the matches. They can, in turn, bring that experience back to their clubs. It can only do football good in the county."


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