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'It's massive' - Cavan captain Greene aiming to overwrite past disappointments

Tipperary stand in their way of the Division 2 league title and promotion to the top flight.

WHEN DCU FINALLY shook off UL and lifted the Gourmet Food Parlour O’Connor Cup after a seven-year drought in March, Sinead Greene was obviously delighted.

Sinead Greene Sinead Greene. Source: Tom Beary/INPHO

But she couldn’t help but feel ever so slightly jealous.

“I was absolutely delighted for them,” she tells The42 earlier this week at the captain’s day for the Lidl Ladies National Football League finals.

“It was a long time coming to DCU. It is hard, it is hard. We were so close a couple of times. I was like, ‘Ugh!’ But it was coming in fairness. They’re flying, they’re doing really, really well.

“I actually really miss DCU, I don’t miss the assignments and the work but I do miss the college. It was really really good, the football.”

The Cavan captain spent four years there studying PE and Biology and is now teaching away in Dunsaughlin Community College. It’s all well and good, she’s enjoying it but of course, she misses the college life — and football — from time to time.

While there was that tinge of jealousy as she watched Aishling Moloney lift the O’Connor Cup at Abbotstown a few weeks back, the tables could turn in Parnell Park later today.

Cavan face Moloney’s Tipperary in the Lidl Ladies National Football League Division 2 final at 2pm, with both silverware and coveted promotion to the top flight up for grabs. Winner takes all. Plain and simple.

Under new management in the form of James Daly, Cavan finished fourth in the Division 2 standings, scraping into the semi-final where they saw off Waterford on a scoreline of 1-8 to 0-8.

“We weren’t that consistent throughout the league,” Greene admits.

“You know, we won a few, lost a few. We were lucky in the end to make the top four. We were under a bit of pressure. We had to beat Sligo, we had to beat Tyrone to make the semi-finals.

“But look, it seems to be coming good now when it matters so hopefully we can continue that on Sunday.”

She adds: “Every new manager brings a new face and new ideas which is great.

“That’s probably why we were a bit up and down in the league because he was trying new girls out and giving new girls a run, which is important as well, that everyone gets a shout.

“Look, Aidan (McCabe) and Simon (Fay) did super work last year but James is just continuing on from that. It’s going well.”

Experience is something Cavan have been building at senior level. The underage set-up has been thriving in the Breffni over the last few years, and that’s beginning to pay dividends as those players progress to the senior ranks.

With stalwarts like Bronagh Sheridan and Aisling Doonan on top of their game in the forward line, younger players like Ciara Finnegan and Catherine Dolan have really made their impact felt and added to their impressive attacking threat.

Lidl Ladies National Football League Finals captains day Division 2 final: Cavan v Tipp. Source: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

“It’s a super mix. There’s a really, really good balance of youth and experience and thankfully it’s blended in well together

“To be honest with you, watching the underage success and watching the Loreto (school) success would make you want to win. It’d make you want to push on and have a Division 1 senior team so that when those girls come right, that they’ll be able to push on and keep going that way.

“It’s about getting there and they’ll, I’m sure, keep us there in years to come. There’s super, super underage in the county. It’s really, really exciting. Another few years time and I’m sure there’ll be loads of them up on the senior panel.”

At 25, Green laughs that she’s considered one of the older or ‘more seasoned’ players. It’s her eighth year on the panel and since making her debut in 2011, the Templeport defender’s star has only risen and risen.

She quickly became a mainstay on the starting fifteen and was a key member to Cavan’s All-Ireland intermediate success over Tipperary in 2013.

Last year, she captained them to the Lidl Ladies National Football League Division 2 final where they locked horns with Westmeath twice.

On first asking, Cavan were unlucky not to win, dominating for the majority of the fixture. But second time around, the Lake County turned on the style and ran out convincing winners.

“In the replay Westmeath were the better team and they totally deserved to win,” she agrees. “I would never hold that (against them).

“Maybe the first day we were probably a little bit unlucky to let it slip but definitely in the replay, they were the better team. We knew that ourselves at the end.

Sinead Greene and Lorraine O'Shea Facing Tipp in 2013. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“Hopefully this year now, we won’t make the same mistakes as last year. You can learn from what we did wrong. The occasion won’t get to us at all, we’re totally used to it. Hopefully we can go that one step further.”

Redemption on the cards in terms of the final. But for Tipperary, they have that 2013 All-Ireland loss in the back of their minds. The sides met earlier this year in the group stages and it was the Premier county who came out on top.

“Ach, Tipp – we know the challenge that’s in our hands. It’s absolutely massive. They have super players all over the field. It’s a massive, massive task.

“I’m sure we’re going in as underdogs and probably rightly so. But look, we love a good challenge so that’s what ahead of us on Sunday.”

She adds, of the Donnycarney double-header in which the Division 1 final between Dublin and Mayo follows: “It’d be great if a good crowd came out to support us.

“Both games, whether you’re a neutral or not. it’ll be really, really good football on the day. Hopefully the crowd will come out and push us on as well.”


Source: The42 Podcasts/SoundCloud

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Emma Duffy

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