Saint Maur’s player Shauna McGuinness has been handed a call-up to the Dublin senior ladies football squad ahead of their Lidl Division 1 League opener against All-Ireland Intermediate champions Tipperary at Ballyboden St Enda’s at 2pm on Sunday.
McGuinness, along with Ballinteer St John’s Niamh Sweeney have been added to the squad following good performances with their clubs, and are getting a taste of inter-county life for the very first time, having not been involved in Dublin squads at any level in the past.
“Neither Niamh or Shauna have been involved in Development squads, but it just shows you the football they have been playing with their clubs,” manager Mick Bohan told Dublin Gazette at the launch of the competition at Lidl Ireland’s HQ in Tallaght this week.
“They have been pointed out to us, and they are in with us at the moment and they have been doing very well. That’s obviously a really healthy situation – that even the message to a 24 or 25-year-old is that you don’t have to have come through the system. That if you perform for the club an opportunity awaits.
“We are hugely appreciative of the work the clubs do, because without them we wouldn’t have the numbers of players available to us, and while the development squads do a really decent job. At the end of the day, clubs are the bedrock of this whole thing, and that will never change.”
The addition of McGuinness and Sweeney to the squad, are two of over 12 changes from the one which won the All-Ireland Senior title for a third year in-a-row last September.
St Sylvester’s Nicole Owens continues to be absent through injury, while her club colleague Niamh McEvoy is ruled out for the league due to AFL commitments in Australia along with Foxrock-Cabinteely’s Sinead Goldrick.
Clontarf’s Siobhan Killeen also continues to be on the injured list, while Thomas Davis’s Olwen Carey is taking leave due to study commitments.
However there is more good news than bad, with the return of no fewer than five players to the squad.
Na Fianna’s Leah Caffrey, Sarah McCaffrey of Clontarf, Naomh Barróg’s Laura McGinley, Rebecca McDonnell of Clanna Gael Fontenoy, Ringsend and Dee Murphy of St Brigid’s are all back involved.
Meanwhile, Clann Mhuire’s Carla Rowe is looking forward to Sunday’s clash with Tipperary.
She says it’s not going to be easy against the Premier County.
“Absolutely, that’s why I wouldn’t be focussing too far ahead of the first game,” she told Dublin Gazette.
“Tipperary are a great side. I suppose you aren’t going to win any Championship, no less an All-Ireland Intermediate one without great players, so they have individual outstanding players, but they also have an excellent all-round team, so it should be a great first game and it’s brilliant to see that it’s streamed live.”
Sunday’s match will be broadcast live on the LGFA Facebook Page, with LIDL and the LGFA committed to broadcasting at least one live game per round, while TG4 as usual will show the finals live.