A Fingal powered forward unit propelled Dublin’s ladies footballers to All-Ireland glory once again as St Sylvester’s Sinead Aherne and Clann Mhuire’s Carla Rowe made telling impacts in Croke Park last Sunday.
Aherne – as part of an all-Syl’s full-forward line – was joined in hitting maximums by half forward Rowe, who struck the net twice against fierce rivals Cork with a trademark cut inside.
Aherne, a near ever-present around the Dublin panel since Mick Bohan’s first period in charge in 2003, had a wry smile when the questions about the well-publicised Dublin/ Cork rivalry came in post match, joking: “we’ve tried to ignore it, but we’ve just been asked about it so much”.
“No, We didn’t ignore the Cork thing,” she continued, “but we tried to feed it into how we performed and take it a step at a time. Last year and this year, we just wanted to show what we can do, and the fact that we were playing Cork, we knew we’d have to be at our best to win.
“You probably noticed how much it means. It’s an incredible feeling, they’ve got some really special players.
“We knew if we kept working the chances, working the scoreboard, and managed to control the ball, we’d get there. Carla Rowe’s been getting in those positions all year, she’s put a huge amount of work into it all year, and it came off for her today.”
When Aherne heard Dublin had hit only three wides, she admitted surprise but thought it showed a crucial aspect of Dublin’s game:
“We had a few block downs, too,” she said.
“It showed the way we’re playing the game, the patient build up.
“What we did today was not drop the head. It just helps so much when someone else is willing to step forward and really drive you on.”
Rowe, meanwhile, emphasised her composed thought process in talking about her brace drifting in from the right.
“I suppose I just thought about keeping calm in front of goal,” Rowe said of her two game-changing finishes.
“Just to have a relaxed head, take a step. They were both on my left foot, so I was happy enough with them.
“You have to beat the player before you panicked, which can happen,” she continued. “The girls made it easy for me, I was one-on-one, and that’s all we can do for each other.
“It’s amazing for all of us to be able to stand here today. It’s something we’ve dreamed of. The attendance today was great for us and the sport.
“My dad said before the game, ‘all you can do is work hard, and the game will come for you and the team’. That’s all I was thinking about today, going out there and working hard for the team.
“I was trying to get back, get forward, support. It’s about being there.”