Spectre of Cork finally exorcised by Dublin

by James Hendicott
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Ecstatic Jackies’ boss Mick Bohan praised his All-Ireland winning Dublin football side after they overcame long-standing rivals Cork at Croke Park on Sunday, admitting that the Rebelettes had been their big target.

In the build up, the Clontarf club man had denied any special connotations to overcoming what felt like a hoodoo around Dublin’s chief rivals after three final losses in the last five years.

But, post-match, Bohan confessed to trying to play down the Cork rivalry on the approach to the finale.

“We couldn’t make it out to be more than a game with this group beforehand but I think everyone knew it was,” Bohan said. “That wasn’t shying away from it. If we had built it up in the camp, it could have become an immovable beast, and we didn’t want that.

“We’ve been building for this for eighteen months. When we came in, we felt Cork were the standard bearers and we felt, for us to take the crown, we would have had to take them out. That’s with massive respect, they brought the game to that level, and we’ve set a standard by it.”

Bohan admitted he’d been a little worried about the final’s star player Carla Rowe ahead of her crucial double goal antics. “It’s amazing the way the game goes,” he quipped afterwards. “We didn’t think Carla was in the game, and then she popped up and scored a brilliant goal, and that bought her a bit of time.

“She was struggling again and all of a sudden she pops up and gets another goal. Those were stages of the game when we’d lost a little bit of control so to get that momentum back was huge.

“You’d have to take your hats off to the contest out there from both teams,” the manager continued. “For anyone trying to promote women’s sport, it was brave, honest, relentless. I think the rules of the game went out of the window, and rightly so.

“It just became an absolute contest. The bravery in going for the ball. The rules of the game are no deliberate contact but it was just absolutely fantastic to see. I hope you guys enjoyed the spectacle, I thought both teams were magnificent.”

Dublin had gone into the final as favourites in most circles, but Bohan also emphasised the respect his side felt towards the sport’s dominant side of recent years.

“Cork weren’t written off in our camp, are you joking me?” Bohan laughed. “Not after the scars they’ve left here. Why would we do that? We have the utmost respect for Cork. That’s what makes that prize today that little bit extra special. I thought it was really important for this group to beat the standard bearers.

“I think for this group, long after they’d hung their boots up, it would have been thrown back at them, ‘you couldn’t beat the great Cork team’.”
Bohan’s side now have two All Ireland senior titles in a row, and the questions about Cork and the series of narrow victories that ran from 2013 to 2016 have been put to bed for good.

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