FINGAL will be well represented on Sunday, as St Sylvester’s player Sinead Aherne, once again, leads the Dublin Ladies Footballers into battle, as they chase a third All-Ireland Senior title in a row in Croke Park (4pm Live TG4).
Sylvesters, St Brigid’s, Clann Mhuire and Skerries Harps all provide players to the squad, as Galway stand in the way of the Jackies.
The Westerners are aiming for only their second title at this level, and a first since 2004, when they accounted for Dublin in the decider.
Just like her male counterpart Stephen Cluxton; Aherne has had a habit of lifting silverware as Dublin captain; and for the third year in a row is aiming to lift the Brendan Martin Cup in Croke Park after the Championship showpiece decider.
Aherne says it hasn’t all just been about the good times.
“We went through a couple of very narrow defeats, so we’ve been on the flip side of that coin not too recently.
“I think that’s what has driven on this squad hugely. We have had experience, but equally we’ve had youth and freshness coming in every year.
“Each year takes on a life of its own and, to a certain extent, you have to move on from the previous year.
“You take what you can and build on it. I think we have probably done a decent job in getting that balance right over the last couple of years to try and build, but equally try and kick on.
“The standard in other teams as well [is high], they are right on us. We have to make sure we keep pushing on every year if we are to try and stay at the top.”
Aherne’s Dublin and Syl’s colleague Niamh McEvoy is also aiming for her fourth All-Ireland medal this weekend; and says with their male counterparts also in All-Ireland final action, it’s a special time for the big ball in the capital.
“It’s a festival of football that weekend. Hopefully, the Dublin lads have a successful day out, and we can try and perpetuate that the following day,” she said.
“We are under no illusions that we have a tough job, and obviously the men do as well.
“We are really lucky that this squad have been involved in the last six All-Ireland finals.
“For Carla Rowe, we were in the All-Ireland final in her first year involved, and we’ve been there every year since.
“There’s enough players there who didn’t make it to the last day of year. So we aren’t taking anything for granted, and really looking forward to it.”
The senior decider is preceded by the Junior (11.45am) and Intermediate (1.45pm) finals, on a busy day of action at GAA Headquarters.
Fermanagh face Louth in the Junior final; while Meath take on a fancied Tipperary side in the Intermediate final.
Should the Royals not prevail, it will mean that Dublin will be the only team from Leinster in Senior Championship action in 2020.