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Dublin ladies ready for All-Ireland road

The championship campaign begins with Cavan fixture this weekend


Dublin ladies football manager Mick Bohane. Photo: Sportsfile

Dublin ladies football manager Mick Bohane. Photo: Sportsfile

Dublin ladies football manager Mick Bohane. Photo: Sportsfile

MICK Bohan has the sat-nav out. The TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship. Cavan first up.

There’s another Leinster title gleaming in the cabinet. But the eye was always on “the bigger prize to come”.

Bohan has always valued the Leinster chalice. But, perhaps, he valued this one most of all.

There was a time, and it wasn’t that long ago, when the Dubs were winning the provincial crown at a canter.

The Royals have changed the landscape. And last month’s meeting in Croke Park was full of great expectations.

The match didn’t reach the excitement of the counties’ clash in Parnell Park a few weeks earlier. But it was still overflowing with intrigue.

Dublin got there by two points, but as Bohan related: “It could have gone either way”.

And if Meath had won, Dublin wouldn’t have altered the binoculars.

“No, no matter what happened in the Leinster final, we were always looking forward to the All-Ireland series.”

Dublin began the journey on a grey Saturday in Mullingar. The town was staging the Bachelor Festival.

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This field is required

And Westmeath were hosting the Dubs in the compact Cusack Park.

Dublin began with a sprint. And they haven’t stopped running since.

Players who had the jersey were determined to hold on to it. The queue to get into the first 15 stretches the length of O’Connell Street.

“The squad is so important,” states Bohan. “And we have been happy with the way it has developed this year. Players have come in and done well.”

He singled out right corner-back Jess Tobin.

“She has been a revelation. It’s the best form of defending that you can see. Her foul-against count is in single-figures, which is incredible.

“The panel keeps on evolving, and you don’t really know who will come to the fore over the summer. Games bring people on. And, in that regard, we got a lot out of the Leinster Championship.”

Dublin will host Cavan on Saturday. They’ll travel to Tipperary on June 19 before facing Mayo, at a neutral venue, on June 25.

“Yes, it’s all to play for now. We were missing a couple of big players during the National League. It’s good to have them back.”

One of them has long been a heartbeat of the side, Sinéad Goldrick. Her presence in the half-back line always give the team a much more formidable look.

Crucial to keep play flowing

SEEING the game flow – music to the eyes of Dubs’ boss Mick Bohan.

He often has a chat with his fellow managers. And they all share a common theme – ‘let us entertain you’.

“It’s all about making sure that the game is a better spectacle. For us all,” declares Bohan.

He loves to see the traffic moving. With no stop-go sign in sight.

“Players are so well conditioned now. And if during the course of the game, somebody bumps into another player, it’s not a free. It’s an accident,” he states.

“It’s not intentional. It’s just something that happens in the flow, and in the speed, of the game.

“It’s the negative elements that people want to see pulled up. Fouls like pulling and dragging. Somebody holding a jersey. Nobody wants to see that type of thing. Or if a player takes a huge amount of steps.

“But, in general, people want to see the game moving as much as possible. And players become frustrated if the whistle goes because they have collided with someone.

“It’s all about consistency. Having everybody on the same page. For everybody’s benefit.”

Dublin and Meath have provided a gripping trilogy already this season. Two teams that get people off their seats. And through the turnstiles.

Football at its best. Out there giving it their all. And doing it with such honest endeavour. And with such fitness. And skill.

The team is full of fantastic leaders - Carla Rowe

THE cheers carried all the way from the Naul. The North County. Home of Clann Mhuire.

There was one of their own, Carla Rowe, climbing the steps of the Hogan. To collect the Mary Ramsbottom Cup. With joint skipper Niamh Collins.

Rowe was chuffed with the honour. And now she is relishing the thought of recovering from injury and getting back out on the grass. And back in the team.

The championship games will come at a rate of knots. “That’s what you want,” says Rowe. “You want to be playing as many games as possible.

“It’s the competitive matches where you learn the most. You can play as many challenge matches as you like but it’s not the same.”

Rowe states that the Dublin team is full of arm-bands.

“We have leaders all over the pitch. It was a great honour for myself and Niamh to go up the steps of the Hogan and collect the Leinster trophy, but this is a fantastic group of players.

“Everybody works so hard for each other on the pitch. Sometimes, you have to be patient. Work as a team. Keep working away trying to find those little pockets. And to do that, everyone has to play a part.”

She adds that their sights are now set on Cavan this week.

“Winning Leinster was great, but it’s just one step in our season. We all know our ultimate goal at the end of the day.

“We move on quickly now. And we’ll keep working hard and trying to improve.”

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