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  • 'It Is So Hard Not To Think Of Those People' - Sinead Finnegan On The Emotion Of Dublin's Triumph

'It Is So Hard Not To Think Of Those People' - Sinead Finnegan On The Emotion Of Dublin's Triumph

'It Is So Hard Not To Think Of Those People' - Sinead Finnegan On The Emotion Of Dublin's Triumph
By Gavin Cooney Updated

Yesterday, amid a record crowd at Croke Park, Dublin's Sinead Finnegan had to writhe in her own secluded agony.

It was very, very difficult. I've never really experienced watching such an important game from the sideline, so for me it was completely different. At one stage I was saying to myself, 'I'm going to puke, I can't watch this!' It was so difficult, but I had trust in the girls. We were creating loads of chances, but we weren't taking them in the first half.

Finnegan's fourth consecutive All-Ireland final ended prematurely: substituted in the first-half having failed to shake off a calf injury that afflicted her preparation. As a result, she watched on as her teammates finally shook off the spectre of three final defeats on the trot to lift the Brendan Martin Cup. "After a few goals [at the end of the second-half] I settled back in. It was brilliant, but I did not enjoy that at all!"

Finnegan had played in each of Dublin's previous three finals: all defeats to Cork suffused with varying shades of heartbreak. The two-point defeat in 2015 came in between defeats marred by regret and controversy: Dublin surrendered a ten-point lead in the final quarter of the 2014 final, while last year's one-point defeat was worsened by the fact a legitimate Carla Rowe point was waved wide.

After yesterday's triumph manager Mick Bohan praised his squad's "resilience", and Finnegan says that quality is hewn from a couple of things:

I suppose it was the love of the game, we all love playing football. At the end of the day it is only a game, we are doing it because we love it. That's how we bounce back. Losing is very difficult, but you learn from that. I know I was standing in the dressing room before the game yesterday thinking, 'this can't happen again'. It builds you as a human being.

Yesterday's final set a record attendance for a female sporting event in Europe, with 46,286 spilling into the upper tiers of Croke Park and a further 409,700 watching live on TG4. "It's amazing", says Finnegan of being involved in such an occasion.  "You feel hugely proud when you're walking out onto the pitch. A lot of people won't experience the feeling, but it's incredible. All you can feel is ultimate pride".

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Ahead of last year's final, Finnegan opened up on the loss of her father Jarlath, who died suddenly in 2007. Finnegan took time out of football as a result, meaning she missed out on Dublin's most recent All-Ireland triumph prior to yesterday. Her father was a huge influence on her career, introducing her to football and ultimately coaching her with Fingallians.

Seven years on, Finnegan has the medal she deserves, and her thoughts on full time drifted to those not present:

The All-Ireland final is the most emotional time ever! Anyone who has lost someone who would have been involved - I lost my Dad and my grandad too, they were heavily involved in my football career, if you can call it a career - it is so hard not to think of those people at those times, they would have been beaming with pride.

I haven't seen any of the pictures yet, but I'm sure I'm crying in them all!

See Also: Watch: Con O'Callaghan & Diarmuid Connolly Were Both Hurling This Weekend - With Very Different Results

 

 

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