Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO Dublin ladies football manager Gregory McGonigle.
# Glory Days
Dubs boss wants his players to be like Bruce Springsteen as they aim to stop Cork's 6-in-a-row bid
“Let’s rock this stadium and give a performance that everybody goes home talking about ladies football.”

GREGORY McGONIGLE HAS urged his Dublin stars to rock Croke Park like Bruce Springsteen when they face Cork in Sunday’s TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football final.

But McGonigle is keen to strike the right balance as his charges aim to upset the six-in-a-row-chasing Rebelettes. Dublin have lost the last two finals against Cork but have the chance to make it third-time-lucky in a fixture that is sure to set pulses racing.

McGonigle has noticed a “calmness” among his players but he wants them to put on a show in front of what could be a record Croker crowd for a ladies football decider.

For Derry native McGonigle, it’s also another chance to put the record straight against Cork. As a manager, he’s lost four finals against the Leesiders — two as Monaghan boss and twice more in charge of the Dubs.

However, McGonigle is quietly confident about his team’s chances of claiming Dublin’s first Brendan Martin Cup win since 2010.

He said: “This year I think there is a lot more calmness about the team and a lot more excitement. There are possibly contradictory feelings coming into a final.

“On one side you are in a performance bubble where this is just about getting the job done, and the second part is you nearly want to be like Bruce Springsteen: ‘This is rock and roll, guys’, let’s rock this stadium and give a performance that everybody goes home talking about ladies football.”

Win or lose, McGonigle has vowed to remain involved with Dublin at some level “for the foreseeable future.” If he vacates the senior manager’s role, McGonigle still envisages himself overseeing the development of future senior stars.

Ciara O'Sullivan and Noelle Healy Gary Carr / INPHO Cork's Ciara O'Sullivan and Noelle Healy of Dublin with the Brendan Martin Cup. Gary Carr / INPHO / INPHO

He explained: “I definitely think there’s an unfinished project with Dublin and irrespective of if we win on Sunday, I would see that I’d definitely be involved for the foreseeable future, be it even at underage development or working with the county board. There’s a serious project — we’ve won three U21 All-Irelands and we’re enjoying every single minute of it.”

McGonigle also believes last Sunday’s men’s senior draw can have a positive impact on his squad. He revealed: “We would have a few girls within the panel in relationships with the guys there. Maybe last year they were forced to go to the banquet and stuff, where this year they have the head down.

“It is possibly even a positive because last year I think there was a real sort of crest of a wave, riding on the back of emotion. I think this year with the men’s final, Dublin didn’t play as well as people would have expected, and things are a bit more damp.

“If you are going to be the best, then play the best. I don’t think Tipperary (hurlers) were worried that it was Kilkenny in the hurling final, compared to Waterford. It was just going to be that day, Tipperary wanted to get the job done. Our girls will hopefully have the same mentality on Sunday.”

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