Dublin’s Niamh McEvoy on the attack. Picture: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

DUBLIN senior ladies manager Greg McGonigle took a pragmatic view on All-Ireland defeat, as he saw his side narrowly succumb to a confident Cork side in Croke Park on Sunday. McGonigle spoke of the fine margins.
“After halftime, we came out and kicked two short and two wides, and Cork kicked four points,” McGonigle said of the 10 post half-time minutes that may have cost the girls in blue an All-Ireland title. “Obviously that was a key moment. That’s football. We see half time as more of an administrative break, so I don’t think it had a lot to do with that. It’s just one of those things. It was tight. At times Cork were hanging on to get their medals.”
Looking back at the first half stalemate, McGonigle highlighted the strength of his defence and attack, but admitted a difficulty linking the two. “I thought we were causing serious problems in the full back line. Carla Rowe and Niamh McEvoy were having outstanding games,” he said. “We were happy with how we were set up with man-marking jobs in defence, too. Sinead Goldrick did a job on Chiara O’Sullivan. We were happy going into halftime, key areas were going well.”
The result was to be the same as last year’s late-game turnaround, though, despite a much more defensive and bitty game. “The only difference in feeling from last year was last year we had the lead and they came back,” McGonigle said. “But we’re very proud of Dublin. We’re a very young side, and I think a lot of the media had us written off coming up here, with Cork going for five in a row. We talked about our game plan, implemented our game plan and we didn’t go away.”
McGonigle was quick to praise the victors, though, who took their tenth title in 11 years. The Ulster man maintained that he’d be happy to face them again next time around, while talking about the positives for Dublin football. “We’re not really sick of the sight of them,” he said.
“We really respect what they’ve done for ladies’ football. If you’re going to win you have to beat someone in the final and you’d rather it be Cork. You have to take your hat off to them, though. They’re a really good side. But this is our second All-Ireland final in two years, after a few years away. We’re playing a long game, and we’re getting closer. The set-up is getting better and better.”