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The absence of Cork, Bohan's astute coaching and tribute to Dubs watching on

The All-Ireland final win was one to savour for Sinead Finnegan.

LAST MONTH DUBLIN finally climbed the steps of the Hogan Stand on All-Ireland senior ladies football final day but their beaten opponents were not who many had envisaged.

Sinead Finnegan and Denise McKenna celebrate Sinead Finnegan celebrates Dublin's All-Ireland win. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

After losing three deciders on the bounce from 2014 to Cork, the school of thoughts was that if Dublin were to eventually succeed in 2017, then they needed to discover a way to topple their conquerors.

Instead Mayo did it for them, bringing Cork’s extraordinary era of dominance to an end at the semi-final stage and Dublin needed to get the job done against different opponents on final day.

“To be honest I probably was disappointed that it wasn’t Cork because I was involved in those last three defeats,” says Dublin defender Sinead Finnegan.

“Some people have the tendency to have that perception if you haven’t beaten Cork, you haven’t won the All-Ireland.

“I’m not disrespecting Mayo, they were deserving finalists because they did beat Cork and they beat them in style. But I think for me to get to a point where I have beaten Cork, I think probably personally would be very happy. But it wouldn’t take way from the win we had this year.

“I think because the panel was a little bit different this year, there would have been a little girls that didn’t have that Cork experience.

“So for some, the more experienced senior players, there may have been that but due to the fact that there was a lot of younger girls involved, I don’t think the Cork thing would have fazed them.”

AIG Cups Visit Dean Rock and Sinead Finnegan at today's AIG Insurance media launch. Source: Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE

Basking in the glow of victory, Finnegan is keen to pay tribute to those who were central to Dublin’s journey but not involved when they day of glory arrived.

“I think Greg (McGonigle) laid down serious foundations with the team because three years previous to that, for three years in a row we’d lost All-Ireland quarter-finals. They were some similarly epic defeats where we were nine or ten points up and had lost.

“When Greg took over, we finally got over that hurdle and got that monkey off our back and got to three All-Ireland finals in a row.

“The one person that also stands out for me and I’m pretty sure she was involved in 2010 when the girls did last win was Sorcha Furlong. She got married last year so she decided to call it a day this year and she had a baby just two weeks before the match.

“So she brought the baby out to the game and I remember after seeing pictures of her and the baby celebrating with the cup. That was a lovely moment for them.

“I’m sure it was a really emotional moment for her because she wasn’t involved but it was great she could still share the day and that’s a memory she’ll have forever.”

At the helm when Dublin finally landed the Brendan Martin Cup was Mick Bohan, who this year again reaffirmed his reputation as an astute coach.

“Mick is a funny one. At the start of the year he spoke to us and he said, ‘A lot of people think that ladies football is more pure than men’s football and it’s really skilful. I actually don’t believe it, I think ye’re miles behind and there’s so much work to be done.

“It was funny because it was the Leinster final in the championship, we’d been working with him since November, and he actually said he was only starting to enjoy watching us play football. That was the biggest compliment he could ever have given us because he respected us as footballers then.

- Sinead Finnegan was speaking as AIG Insurance, proud sponsor of the Dubs celebrated the Dublin Footballers’ and Dublin Ladies Footballers’ double All-Ireland victory today by announcing great discounts on travel insurance for Dublin GAA fans. See www.aig.ie/dubs for more.

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Fintan O'Toole

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