Croker double-header delights Staunton
Mayo star Cora Staunton is relishing the prospect of playing at Croke Park for the first time since 2008.
The Ladies Gaelic Football Association confirmed yesterday that Dublin will face Mayo at GAA HQ this Saturday evening, in what will be the first Lidl League fixture played at the venue.
It will also mark Staunton's first appearance at Croke Park since the 2008 All-Ireland quarter-final victory over Kerry.
"Nearly nine years ago," she reflected.
"Obviously it's a great step, this is something that we've been pushing for, what ladies football has been pushing for, to get these games in front of men's games. It's an extra bonus that the game is in Croke Park."
The ladies fixture will precede Dublin's Allianz League Division 1 clash with Roscommon in which Jim Gavin's team will bid to maintain their remarkable unbeaten run.
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And Staunton believes it should be the first of many more occasions where female players have the chance to showcase their talents on the same bill as their male counterparts.
She said: "It should be happening more often, and we should be playing before the Mayo men in MacHale Park more often. I can't remember a time when that's happened but it should be happening every weekend. It's the best way to promote the ladies game.
"A lot of our girls have never got to experience playing there, bar myself and a couple of others. It's a bigger deal for them."
In the race for crucial top-four spots, it's a big game for Mayo and Dublin. Mayo are playing catch-up after their weekend fixture with Donegal was postponed due to a bereavement in the opposition camp.
Mayo trail joint-leaders Dublin and Galway by nine points, with one fewer game played, and Staunton admits that three points are a must.
She said: "We'd love to make the league semi-finals, that looks very far away at the moment.
"It's about keeping our Division 1 status now and building a bit of confidence in the team.
"Division 1 is very tight this year but we need to get three points on the board - and a good performance."
Saturday's game against Dublin will be the first time that the counties have met in a competitive fixture since last year's classic All-Ireland semi-final, won by the Sky Blues when Sinéad Aherne pointed a last-gasp free.