Thursday 23 May 2019

Jackies show true meaning of girl power for fans

Blue Heaven: Dublin celebrate back-to-back All-Irelands after their win over Cork in the ladies’ football Championship final in front of a crowd of more than 50,000 in Croke Park. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Blue Heaven: Dublin celebrate back-to-back All-Irelands after their win over Cork in the ladies’ football Championship final in front of a crowd of more than 50,000 in Croke Park. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Laura Lynott at Croke Park

The sound of little girls' voices shouting "Dublin, Dublin" ricocheted around Croke Park, as the women in blue became heroines for a new generation - with more than 50,000 fans in attendance.

Dublin and Cork put on an almighty show for the record-breaking crowd yesterday at the All-Ireland Ladies Football final.

With Dublin defeating the Rebel County 3-11 to 1-12, it was as if every little girl in the capital had unleashed a victory cry across the city, as woman of the moment captain Sinead Aherne lifted the Brendan Martin Cup aloft.

And the attendance at Croke Park, a record-breaking 50,141 for a ladies final, showed that women's football is not only here to stay but it's growing and capturing hearts and minds across the country.

Though Dublin and Cork had proved equal rivals in the first half of this tense match, the Jackies dominated in the second half, securing them back-to-back titles.

John Harrington (39), from Fairview in Dublin, told the Irish Independent he took his children, Saoirla (5) and Cashel (8), along with their cousin, Aoife Harrington, to the game to ensure the girls in the family "know all about women's football, this is for girl power".

Yvonne Clarke from Coolock celebrates Dublin’s All Ireland Ladies football final win at Croke Park. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Yvonne Clarke from Coolock celebrates Dublin’s All Ireland Ladies football final win at Croke Park. Photo: Steve Humphreys

"It's important for little girls to have heroines and at a young age. Children are always looking for role models, so that's what the Dublin team are for little girls all over the city."

Alma Flynn, from Clonsilla, was at the game with her husband Dave and their children, Lucy and Thomas. For Lucy (5), it was her first football match.

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"It was very important for me as a mother today, to bring my daughter to see the Dublin women's GAA team play and I know there's an awful lot of mothers doing the same with their little girls.

"Women's sport is growing massively in Ireland, especially after the women's Irish hockey team won silver in the Hockey World Cup."

Deirdre Sheridan, originally from Lusk, Co Dublin, but living in Kells, Co Meath, dressed her five-month-old daughter Dara in a half-Meath, half-Dublin jersey for her first game, while her older children, John (4) and Orlath (2), excitedly learned all about the Jackies.

Deirdre, who was with her sister Niamh Hurley, a Dublin All-Ireland winner in 2010, said: "It was really important for us to be here. Our family has been involved in ladies' football for a long time. And it is just great to see such a huge crowd out supporting the women."

Christine Mullins, from Whitechurch, Co Cork, was there with her daughter, Eve (17) - a Cork minor midfielder. "I was at an All-Ireland game when I was seven-weeks pregnant with Eve. I've been coming ever since as a kind of tradition and it obviously had a big impact on my daughter, who now lives, eats and breathes GAA."

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