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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 22 May, 2018
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Goldrick draws World Cup positives as Dublin rally in hope of fourth time lucky

All-Ireland finalists the last three years, the Sky Blues face Kerry in today’s semi-final.

Dublin's Sinead Goldrick.
Dublin's Sinead Goldrick.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

OVER THE PAST few weeks, all you have to do is scroll down your Twitter feed to see the support shared between Irish female athletes.

Of course, it’s not just been over the past few weeks, but there’s been an abundance of support, recognition and coverage this summer especially.

There have been floods of messages for the Irish rugby team throughout their World Cup campaign, through the good and the bad, the narrow wins and the gut-wrenching losses.

Many fellow sportswomen turned out to UCD in the green jersey to cheer on their counterparts, while others took the road to Belfast for the business end of proceedings.

One of such who enjoyed the group stages in the Belfield Bowl is Dublin footballer Sinéad Goldrick.

With two of her former teammates — Lindsay Peat and Hannah Tyrrell — lining out for Ireland alongside many others who have made the jump from inter-county football, Goldrick and her fellow Dublin defender Sinéad Finnegan went to watch the Japan game two Sundays ago.

Ireland’s World Cup campaign on home soil hasn’t been the one they’ve dreamed of, as they now find themselves fighting for seventh place.

AIG event with the New Zealand Black Ferns, Dublin Ladies Footballers and Dublin Camogie Goldrick was at hand at an AIG event two weeks ago. Source: Cody Glenn/SPORTSFILE

But back when Goldrick was speaking at an AIG media event, the hope was still there after gutsy wins over Australia in their opener, and the Japan game which she and Finnegan attended.

“You’ve a huge amount of respect for what they’ve done, and now they’re representing their country in a World Cup,” the Foxrock Cabinteely defender said, in reference to Peat and Tyrrell, among other players who have crossed over from the inter-county scene.

“A lot of eyes have been put on the World Cup being here, and it’s a privilege for Ireland to have that momentum. There’s a lot of buzz around and excitement, and a lot of talking.

“You look at that in terms of ladies Gaelic football — there’s a lot of focus on the Irish women’s rugby team so hopefully they can build upon that and have a huge focus on ladies Gaelic football.

“Women’s sport in general, I think the coverage has given the opportunity for people to make their opinion on a game, if they like it or not. Even our matches being televised on TG4, it gives a window for people to have a look and make their decision if it’s something that they want to support or not.”

She highlights some recent games, such as the All-Ireland ladies senior football semi-final between Armagh and Kerry, as she speaks of how they showcase the skill that’s there. And to have that available through live TV coverage and double-headers with men’s fixtures is a huge boost.

Goldrick also mentioned the demand for tickets for the World Cup, and how she hopes that will carry over more and more in the future, especially as the pinnacle of the ladies football calendar year in All-Ireland finals day approaches.

“That’s what you strive for. Even in and around the office, people were trying to look for tickets for the match against Japan on Wednesday.

“You’re hoping that over the years, it will get to the stage that people are looking to get a ticket and come to the games. As a player, regardless of if there’s 1000 people watching you or 20,000, you’re going to put in the same amount of effort and that’s what it’s about.

Sinead Goldrick dejected Goldrick dejected after last year's All-Ireland final loss to Cork. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“It’s ‘I’m Dublin’ and what we’re doing on our journey and the 35 of us that are on the panel, we’re working really hard to hopefully get an ultimate goal that we want. We’re happy with the journey that we’re on at the moment.”

This journey she speaks of, is of course their quest for All-Ireland senior glory. They’ve fallen short in the last three deciders to Cork — who have won 11 of the last 12 titles.

Mick Bohan’s side find themselves fighting for their fourth All-Ireland final spot in-a-row as they face Munster champions Kerry in Semple Stadium later today (throw-in 6.30pm, live on TG4).

Looking at the programme as Dublin and Waterford took to the field in Nowlan Park for the quarter-final two weeks ago, there was one glaring omission. Goldrick had not been named in the 29-woman squad, as they ran out 11-point victors on the day.

“I was unavailable for selection,” she explained to The42, when asked if she was carrying an injury on the day.

“We’ve two weeks and Mick [Bohan] says it, he’s been true to his word — it’s a blank canvas after every game, so everyone is going to be fighting for a jersey, to get into the starting fifteen.

“That’s what I’ll be pushing and focusing on, to try and get back on the team.”

She’s back now though, and the hard work has paid off as she’s ready to don the number five jersey with her usual hunger and determination.

The Leinster champions are fully aware of the Kingdom threat that lies ahead, with Bohan admitting they had plenty to work on before tomorrow’s showdown.

And Goldrick is the first to echo her manager’s words, as they focus on overcoming this ‘different animal’.

“From the Waterford game, there are things that we are happy about — Sinéad Ahearne and Nicole Owens had absolutely excellent games — but there’s always things that you can work on and improve on.

Sinead Goldrick leads her team during the parade Goldrick captained Dublin to the 2014 final. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“We’re going to be focusing on the things that we need to improve on against Kerry. It’s going to be a different animal. We watched the Armagh game that they played afterwards and the skill level from both sides was excellent.

“Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh, Hannah O’Donoghue who’s only 16, got Player of the Match and scored 1-4. We’re looking at that. They’re a very strong team and have skill all over. We need to step up two levels if you want to be successful over Kerry.”

Bohan has his side well-versed, the 27-year-old says, when asked about life under the new management, but she insists that it’s building on from the work Gregory McGonigle has done over the past few years.

“It’s brilliant. His management team are excellent and they have a really good set-up.

“They’ve a fresh, new approach. They’re really positive. I know Mick’s putting a lot of focus on the basic skill and improving us as players and our skill set and you can see improvements.”

So could this year be a case of fourth time lucky in terms of capturing the Brendan Martin Cup? Goldrick smiles, not giving much away:

“Last year, we bet Mayo by a point in the semi-final. It really comes down to small inches at the end of the day and it’s probably going to be a similar situation this week. Kerry are a very strong side.

“The match is on Saturday afternoon so that’s all we’re focusing on until the end of the result.”

AIG were in Old Wesley Rugby Football Club in Donnybrook recently to facilitate a meet and greet with representatives from the New Zealand Black Ferns, Dublin Ladies Football team and Dublin Camogie team. The girls participated in a cross skills challenge involving gaelic football, camogie, and rugby.

AIG are Official Insurance Partner of the New Zealand Black Ferns, and local sponsors to the Dublin Ladies Football team and Dublin Camogie team.

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Emma Duffy

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