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Lauren Magee ready for big Donegal test

Scenic Carrick-On-Shannon venue for quarter-final tie


Dublin footballer Lauren Magee at the Kilmacud Crokes All-Ireland Sevens Launch. Credit: Sportsfile

Dublin footballer Lauren Magee at the Kilmacud Crokes All-Ireland Sevens Launch. Credit: Sportsfile

Dublin footballer Lauren Magee at the Kilmacud Crokes All-Ireland Sevens Launch. Credit: Sportsfile

Lauren Magee is hoping that there will be better conditions on the river bank. Carrick-On-Shannon next Saturday for the quarter-final of the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship against Donegal at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada (2.0).

She smiles as she recalls Dublin’s last three games. The hour reflecting an Irish summer. One half of sunshine. The next, wind and rain.

The elements were playing all kinds of tricks in Portlaoise against Mayo. It took a while to adjust to the flight of the ball. But even then, it had a mind of its own.

But Dublin got the job done against a Mayo side that kicked some excellent points. And who showed the resilience of Serena Williams. Right to the last blow of the whistle.

“Yes, the conditions were tough for both teams,” recalls Lauren. “And that’s been the way it has been so far. We have played at least one half of the matches against a gale-force wind.

“But it was good to get the win. The campaign is going well. And we have also got to use the bench as well. That’s important as we prepare for the knock-out stages.”

The season is going sweetly for the Blues. Last year’s All-Ireland final to Meath has injected an extra slice of resolve into the boots.

The Leinster title was hard-won. A two-point victory over Meath at Croke Park. On the same Leinster final bill as Dessie’s Dubs.

That triumph, and Dublin’s assured display, brought a dollop of confidence.

And now it’s the last eight. Mick Bohan won’t have to give a team talk. Last March’s Lidl Division 1 semi-final defeat to Donegal will say it all.

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This field is required

Up in Clones, Dublin had one foot on the Croke Park red carpet. But they were caught on the bell. Stung by two late Donegal goals.

It was a harsh defeat to take, but it brought the valuable lesson of casting the result in cement.

“I wasn’t back for that game, but it was a tough loss, and I know the girls were very disappointed.

“Donegal are a top side. This will be a big test for us. But that’s what you expect at this stage of the competition,” states Magee.

She has seen the sport prosper. And the standards rise. Bigger crowds and bigger venues. “It’s all down to effort that the players are putting in. And not just the players, but the backroom teams as well.

“And it’s great that we can show spectators what a good game it is, and that we have the platform to do that.”

Happy to be home and to catch the round ball

They were mowing the grass in Croke Park. Lauren Magee had a good view. From Level 6 of the Hogan Stand.

She was at the launch of the Kilmacud Crokes All-Ireland Sevens, which is being sponsored by The Beacon Hospital.

Lauren grew up in the midst of those September Saturdays. The club is in her blood.

She talks fondly of two of the inspirational figures at Stillorgan, her grandmother, Daisy, and John Sheridan.

Then there was her father Jonny, and her uncle Darren. She’d go to their training sessions with Crokes and the Dubs “trying to imitate the warm-up routine of the players”.

She has four All-Ireland medals now. And she has played in five All-Ireland finals, losing the 2016 final to Cork on her debut season.

Then came the four-in-a-row. Playing at midfield with Olwen Carey, Siobhán McGrath and Jennifer Dunne.

Lauren brings such energy and mobility to the Dublin side. Running a marathon in every match. Doing the simple things. And doing them very well.

Her athleticism earned her a call to Melbourne. She spent two years in the AFLW. “It was a good experience. I gave it a crack. And it’s always there in the future if I want to go back.”

But, for now, she will focus on wearing the jerseys of Dublin and Kilmacud, and going to college. Making the welcome adjustment back to the round ball. And the Irish climate!

Curran has moulded a top side

Maxi Curran knows every hill and valley of Donegal football. And he has done a splendid job with this team.

They have Geraldine McLaughlin, one of the best of them all. And other leading artists like Karen Gutherie and Yvonne Bonner.

Last season, in the same Leitrim venue, and at the same stage of the competition, Dublin beat them by five points. It was no picnic by the water’s edge.

Since then, Donegal reached the Division 1 final, and in Group D of the Championship, they beat Waterford before losing to Cork.

Lauren Magee has been impressed. “Donegal are a brilliant team, and at this stage of the season, you are going to be meeting top sides.

“The All-Ireland Championship is a great competition. And there are so many teams in the mix that are capable of winning it.

“It’s not just one or two teams. And that’s good for the overall appeal of the game. It shows that the sport is going in the right direction.

“You want to see counties progressing each year. As players, we want to be playing the best of the best.”

Magee’s partnership with Jennifer Dunne in the engine room is a crucial part of the Dublin side. Their industry sets the tone. Helping out at the back and breaking forward.

Dublin have a very compact unit. So much so that the last evening against Mayo, goalkeeper, Ciara Trant, hardly had a save to make.

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