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Dublin Manager's Blunt Assessment Of Ladies Football Helped Lift Team To Next Level

Dublin Manager's Blunt Assessment Of Ladies Football Helped Lift Team To Next Level
By PJ Browne
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Sinead Finnegan found herself in a strange situation on Thursday afternoon. Usually, she's the one telling members of the media they have time for one more question with the sportsperson sitting in front of them. On this occasion, she was the one answering the questions.

Finnegan, a recent All-Ireland winner with the Dublin ladies footballers, also works for PR company Teneo PSG. Earlier this week, she sat down to write an email inviting journalists to an AIG Insurance event at which she and Dean Rock would be the interviewees. She could not bring herself to hit send - a colleague distributed the invite instead.

Last month, Finnegan won her first All-Ireland medal. It ended a run of heartbreak for her and her Dublin teammates. They had been defeated in the last three All-Ireland deciders.

The previous management team led by Gregory McGonigle had laid the foundations but it was Mick Bohan who helped realise the dream.

Bohan was appointed last year for his second term in charge of the Dublin ladies. He had previously guided them to the 2003 All-Ireland final.

"It's amazing to see that people are starting to take note and commenting on our ability as opposed to the token lady in sport comments," says Finnegan. It's a development which she largely credits to Bohan.


Earlier this year, just months after taking up the role, Bohan did not sugarcoat his view of the ladies game when addressing his players.


Mick is a funny one. At the start of the year he spoke to us and he said, ‘A lot of people think that ladies football is more pure than men’s football and it’s really skilful. I actually don’t believe it, I think ye’re miles behind and there’s so much work to be done. You're at a level but you could be at a whole new level.'

It was funny because it was the Leinster final in the championship, we’d been working with him since November, and he actually said, 'I'm only starting to enjoy watching you guys play football now.'

That was the biggest compliment he could ever have given us because he respected us as footballers then.

There were 46,286 in attendance at Croke Park for the All-Ireland ladies final. Finnegan says it was an uplifting sight to see the top tier of the Cusack Stand full when the Dublin team emerged from the tunnel.

If the sport is to capitalise on the good place it finds itself in right now, the Dublin fullback believes standards reached this year must be maintained.

She recalls her manager saying recently that the players' focus should not be on people giving out about the lack of support but rather how they can make the game a more enjoyable spectacle.


"The onus is on the players and the coaches to make sure that they are progressing and improving the game all the time because if they do, it'll become more enjoyable for people who are just fans of sports as opposed to people who are just family and friends of the girls who are playing."

Finnegan tells of a friend, 'a pain in the arse', who has always been a critic of ladies football. August's semi-final performance against Kerry began a turn in his opinion of the ladies game.

I remember after our All-Ireland semi-final he said, 'Sinead, I watched the whole match and I didn't feel annoyed once.' He really, really enjoyed it and that was a massive compliment even though he's a pain in the arse sometimes. I'm like, 'Stop talking about ladies football like that because it's personally disrespectful to me.'

It was a great compliment for him to say something like that because, for someone who gives out about it so much, it was great to hear him say that he enjoyed it and that he didn't feel aggrieved about having to watch it.

AIG Insurance, proud sponsor of the Dubs celebrated the Dublin Footballers’ and Dublin Ladies Footballers’ double All-Ireland victory today by announcing great discounts on travel insurance for Dublin GAA fans. See www.aig.ie/dubs for more.

See Also: Wexford Club's Junior Football Title Mission Is The Most Inspirational GAA Story Of 2017

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