Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE Dublin and Kilmacud Crokes footballer Lauren Magee at the Beko Club Champion 2021 launch.
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Dublin retirements impending, backing Bohan to stay, and returning to Oz after All-Ireland heartbreak
‘I feel like there will be a few retirements and a bit of a shift in the team, and if there is that as well as a new management, it will just be very hard.’

DUBLIN STAR LAUREN Magee says she feels manager Mick Bohan “couldn’t leave after this year” — with retirements impending in the Sky Blues set-up.

The county’s bid for five All-Ireland titles in-a-row was derailed by Meath in this month’s final, the Royals lifting the Brendan Martin Cup for the very first time after a 1-11 to 0-12 victory capped a magical rise.

Bohan’s emotional post-match press conference all but confirmed the culmination of an era, as the boss lamented “the end of a road for probably half a dozen of that group”.

The four-in-a-row winning boss, who oversaw 25 straight championship wins from his arrival ahead of the 2017 season to the Meath defeat, did not clarify his own future with the team.

Last week, Carla Rowe shared her hopes that “the best manager in the country” would stay on for a sixth campaign, while Magee – who also plays Aussie Rules with Melbourne FC, and is due to fly out next month – followed suit yesterday.

Asked about Bohan’s future at the Leinster GAA Beko Club Champion Launch, she said:

“I don’t know. I feel like at this moment in time — I know Mick just being around him the last four years — I think it would be very tough for him to leave on that note, you know that kind of way.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he stayed around and I’d hope that he would stay around, in terms of I feel like there will be a few retirements and there will be a bit of a shift in the team, and if there is that as well as a new management, it will just be very hard to gather everything else up.

“But I don’t know. I just know with him, I feel like he couldn’t leave after this year. I feel there will be another year in him hopefully.”

While no official word has landed on retirements, Sinéad Aherne, Lyndsey Davey and Siobhán McGrath are three who may call it a day after lengthy careers.

lauren-magee-dejected-after-the-game Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Magee and Sinéad Aherne (13) dejected after the final. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

They were among the five Dublin All-Ireland final starters who were 30 or over. Four-in-a-row winning captain Aherne is 34, having arrived on the scene in 2003, while Davey made her senior debut in 2004, aged just 14. She’s still only 31, but 18 consecutive seasons of inter-county football means she has also travelled some road.

There was always a feeling that this year would be their last. Several interviews and the emotion after last year’s All-Ireland final – from Davey and McGrath, in particular – suggested that it would be, but they gave it one more go.

“I feel like there has probably been girls who might have retired maybe even last year, but just in terms of the likes of Covid, just kind of gave them more of a reason to stay,” Magee nods.

“I just think there are girls that have been there for so many years and given so much, literally over a decade of their life to the team. I’d say it is time for some of them just to focus on their life outside of Dublin, which they deserve ultimately because they have given so much to the jersey so. I do think there will be a few retirements.”

The Kilmacud Crokes midfielder feels it will be “hard to take” and “a shock,” given the leaders that will likely depart, but she is confident her side will cope and avoid a period of transition.

Plenty of experience remains within the squad, and the disappointment of the final defeat will motivate them.

While Magee watched it back “soon afterwards,” others likely haven’t. Some have talked it out among themselves and with player reps, some opting to leave it on the long finger.

“It is just one of those things where you kick yourself forever after the loss, where it all went wrong, what you could have done more, those sort of things,” Magee nods.

“It is one of those things which gives you even more of a hunger to come back and go at it again for next year. Just very disappointed, trying to figure out where it all went wrong but, yeah, it is tough to take.”

magee Melbourne AFLW. Magee training with Melbourne. Melbourne AFLW.

“On the day we obviously expected Meath to be as good and as threatening as they were, they were always going to come at us with everything,” she adds. “I just don’t think, as a whole, we reacted.

“There was just a lot of things that went wrong for us in that game and a lot of things you can try to pick out and kind of try and prod and change but at the end of the day we just didn’t perform to our ability and you can’t really excuse that. That’s just the way I would look at it. In general, I just don’t think we clicked on the day. There’s a lot to work on.”

The inter-county focus is on hold for now, with all eyes on her return to Melbourne in the coming weeks.

Magee is preparing for her second season in the Australian Football League Women’s [AFLW] after an “unbelievable” taster.

“It was a really good experience playing a new sport and living in Australia, which was a bit of bonus and I quite enjoyed it,” she concluded.

“I’m fortunate to have got the opportunity to have gone over, especially last year. I had just a week before the first match so I’m glad that I get the chance to go again this year but also the two months prior to the first match will give it a better bash.”

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