Armagh await Dublin

by Gazette Reporter

DUBLIN WOMEN’s senior manager Greg McGonigle has branded the failure to move the team’s semi-final against Armagh to Croke Park “a missed opportunity,” but is looking forward to the season-defining game nonetheless.
“Parnell Park’s a great stadium, too, but there’s been a massive push on this year when it comes to recognition of women’s sport in general,” he told GazetteSport. “Things like women’s rugby and the development of the WGPA Women’s Gaelic Players’ Association] have been big. I’m not surprised, but it’s a missed chance.”
McGonigle’s Dubs will face off against Armagh in his second full season in charge, starting a revitalised team based around the county’s target of rejuvenating with a fresh young side. The manager has an interesting inside track, as he did with defeated quarter final opponents Monaghan: the Ulsterman has a notable history inside both counties, and has spent a year coaching in Armagh.
“I would know a lot of the Armagh girls,” he said. “James Daly is a fantastic manager. They’ve had two promotions in a row in the league. It’ll be about getting our own match ups right, but also about following our own game plan and using calculated risk to put ourselves in a position to win the game. It’s like a game of poker in a way.
“They have some quality players. Short of kidnapping them, we’re not going to avoid them getting time on the ball. These are two very good footballing teams. We’re at a stage where it’s different to the men with the pulling and the dragging, because a yellow card is a sin bin in the women’s game, and we can’t afford to have players sitting on the bench for 10 minutes.”
McGonigle expects that means the semi-final will be an open and flowing affair.
“We’re expecting an open free-for-all game. Parnell Park is not the biggest pitch so we’re expecting an up and down game. It’s a very young team, very fresh, having added the likes of Hannah Noonan and Fiona Hudson.
“We started with eight Under-21s in the quarter-final against Monaghan,” he added. “It’s a serious age profile going forwards, and there has to be a remit of trying to build a squad capable of winning. We last won the All Ireland in 2010. We’re trying to get a nuclear group of young girls at the bedrock of our squad, like the Galway hurlers. If you’re good enough, you’re old enough.”
Dublin face Armagh in the semi-final of the women’s All Ireland senior championship at Parnell Park, midday on Saturday, September 5. The winners face Cork in the final in late September.

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