Foxrock Cabinteely star Sinead Goldrick said the unity of the Dublin ladies side drove them to their spectacular All-Ireland final win over Cork last Sunday.
She was speaking emotionally about the tough training process and team bonding the side had been through to get to the Croke Park stage.
In doing so, Goldrick admitted that the size of the crowd had been somewhat lost on her on the day, with eyes on the prize, and motivation drawn from the days the team spent together outside of the spotlight.
“I didn’t really think about the crowd,” Goldrick said of running out in front of over 50,000, a first for the ladies final, and likely to be the biggest attendance in female sport in Europe this year.
“I saw the top tier full and I tried not to think about it; I tried to focus. I saw it when I went up at the end and felt real pride but unless you win that doesn’t matter, I suppose.
“There are a group of us who have lost quarter finals by a point, semi-finals by two points, we just really wanted to get over the line. Thankfully we did it together.
“Away from the lights, we went on a journey. In ten years time, Mick said to us, you might see each other in the pub and just have to give each other that look because no one else outside the team knows what we went through, and how much we pushed each other.
“Football is about people doing their best, but behind the scenes there are things happening to players in their life, you know, and this group is so, so special. To win, and keep Brendan in Dublin, I think we can take a real pride in that.
“Today was a good display of football and that’s important to us” Goldrick continued as she described the performance. “You don’t just want to win, you want to win in a way that gives 50,000 people a respect for the game and for what goes on on the field. I think we did that today.”
Goldrick admitted that for Cork’s goal, Dublin had thought the game had been stopped, but blamed herself for the resulting play, which dragged Cork back into the contest in the first half.
“To be honest, I thought it was a free out,” she said. “I thought I heard a whistle. But it’s my own fault for putting it through the centre. When it happened, I knew I’d made a mistake there. Thankfully it didn’t make a difference, as I wouldn’t have been able to forgive myself if that had been the goal that mattered.
“We really wanted the two in a row, I think,” she laughed. “I don’t think we’d have been happy with just one. For years we’ve chased winning an All Ireland, and now we finally have it, we want to keep it. I don’t think I realised how much it meant until the final whistle.
“You try to put all that in the back of your head, and when that whistle went it really hit home that we’d beaten Cork, and done it again.”