No extra motivation required for Jackies

by James Hendicott

Mick Bohan says any sense of vengeance against Cork will only be of minimal concern when it compares to their efforts to land the biggest prize in ladies football next Sunday at Croke Park.

The rebels beat Dublin on three consecutive occasions between 2014 and 2016 in the final before the Jackies made their breakthrough last year, landing the title ahead of Mayo.

Bohan reflected the outlook of that 2017 run has shown the side in a new light, not least because of RTE’s widely-praised Dublin documentary ‘Blues Sisters’.

The manager admitted he ultimately accepted the filming of the intimate look at the Dubs title-winning year because “it paid the food bill and freed up money for other things”.

“My initial reaction was that it was my first year and the team had been through a lot [in three consecutive All Ireland final defeats]. If they were to fail so publicly, I was worried how it would impact them,” Bohan explained.

“The filmmakers were full on, though, pushing as far as turning up in the car parks at training sessions, cameras in hand.

“They said they’d do it nicely and that, if we won, it would be a great memory for the team to keep forever,” Bohan recalled. “Of course, I had to think about what happened if we lost, too. But it was the money that changed things.”

The documentary did give a glance into the internal dynamic of the Dublin side, and the effort behind their push for the title.

“I still don’t think there’s a general realisation, even amongst the players, of how hard these girls work,” Bohan continued.

“Even the people who say they know how hard they work, they don’t know. You’d have to be here. Maybe the fellas that go out with them have an idea, but mostly even their families wouldn’t be fully aware of what they do.”

Long-standing team members Siobhan McGrath and captain Sinead Aherne were praised in particular by Bohan. He also managed both players during his first stint in charges of the Jackies, running the side that lost an All Ireland final to an injury time Mayo goal in 2003.

On the return of McGrath this year, Bohan revealed that her place in the Dublin panel was never in too much doubt, despite her time out in Australia.

“I knew Siobhan was back last year,” Bohan recalls.

“I had spoken to her last April as I’d heard she was back but she was looking to renew her visa to go back to Australia. She said she’s nowhere close to where the team was at and didn’t want to come back only to let herself down.

“She’s very like Sinead. The two of them need to do things properly, or not at all. If they miss a step, that’s them out.

“They need to do the hard yards, tick all the boxes. The two of them are incredible leaders to the younger kids. They don’t say anything, it’s all in what they do.”

The experienced pair are likely to be key as Dublin look to overcome the Cork final demons that most of the players – given the change in personnel in both sides since Cork’s series of All Ireland wins – feel aren’t really a factor anymore.

“It’s not about it being Cork,” Bohan concluded. “There’s silverware there. Playing Cork isn’t the thing. No one needs extra motivation on All Ireland final day. It’s about winning.”

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