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'Cynicism, give us a break. Really?' - Dublin boss Bohan's mounting frustration

‘Physicality has been thrown out like a dirty word at us at the moment – and cynicism.’

Dublin ladies football manager Mick Bohan.
Dublin ladies football manager Mick Bohan.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

DUBLIN LADIES FOOTBALL boss Mick Bohan hit back at claims that his five-in-a-row chasing side are “cynical” after yesterday’s semi-final win over Mayo.

Former Green and Red manager Peter Leahy, in an interview with The Irish Examiner earlier this week, labelled their play as “cynical” while calling for a drastic overhaul to the Ladies Gaelic Football Association’s [LGFA] rule book.

And four-in-a-row winning manager Bohan brought it up unprompted in yesterday’s post-match press conference.

“People alluded to us been cynical during the week,” he noted. “I’d love to see how they’d back that up because we certainly don’t play the game like that. We play it with a high intensity, they have unbelievable commitment to try and win the ball.

“Cynicism, give us a break. Really? I mean, the game has got faster. I think it’s an enjoyable spectacle. But are we going out to try and be negative in the game? Our average scoring this year is 3-14 a game. That’s some cynicism.”

Bohan has been vocal on the need for change of late, saying that the rules “aren’t fit for purpose” and that was something he again went on to discuss at length yesterday.

“This discussion has started over the last couple of weeks. I obviously said after the league final that the rules now aren’t fit for purpose. And they’re not – because if you look, for example, there today, [Mayo's] Rachel Kearns, three or four times gets frees. Is that because there was contact or because she ended up on the ground?

“If there’s a collision in Gaelic football, it doesn’t mean it’s a foul. If two players go with huge intent to win the ball, does it mean there’s a culprit? There’s times it’s not, it’s just part of the game.

“If you have a rule that there is no intentional contact allowed in the game, and you have someone primed like an athlete, like Carla Rowe, who’s absolutely racehorse material. What’s she to do? Decelerate at her highest point of acceleration? It’s physically impossible. The physics won’t work. That’s what I’m talking about changing the rules.

“There has to be some understanding that these girls have moved on. Fellas are training their sons like sons, but their girls like real girls — they’re athletes, they’re footballers, let them play. It doesn’t mean you have to tear up the rule book. It just means you have to look at it.

“Physicality has been thrown out like a dirty word at us at the moment, and cynicism – where are people getting that from? Are girls not supposed to do conditioning? Is that actually the way it is now? Because if people really want to say that; physicality, what they’re saying is conditioning.

“Conditioning means you do more, guys. It doesn’t mean to do less. We’re doing three nights a week on the field and two nights in the gym. That’s what we’re doing. If anyone else wants to do more, or otherwise, that’s their choice. But these guys are doing it – why? Because they want to play the game at the highest possible level during their time. Is that not an ambition that every sports person should go after?”

mick-bohan-speaks-to-his-team-after-the-game Bohan speaking to his team after their five-point win over Mayo. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Bohan — whose side have won every championship match they’ve played under his stewardship this term, a record stretching back to the 2016 All-Ireland final, added:

“I got frustrated listening to that – not the refereeing of it because in fairness to referees, when somebody goes down, they nearly feel they must blow the whistle.

“There was a clip, and I spoke to TG4 about this, taken out from the league final — Leah Caffrey went at a ball and she subsequently made contact with [Cork's] Orla Finn, but she made contact with the ball first and there was a free and a tick. You’re there thinking, ‘Did Leah Caffrey go to hit Orla Finn?’ No, she didn’t. It wasn’t intentional. And I understand the referee sees a collision – and because it’s ladies football, he goes, ‘Jesus I better give a tick’.

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“That’s the part of the game that we’re trying to say that you could do a little bit differently. When we go out and play the likes of Mayo and Cork and whoever else, there’s two groups going at it honestly. Just being as honest as they possibly can. Is that not the game we want to see?

“It’s certainly the game I want to see and it’s the way they play it when they’re in house.”

Bohan confirmed that it’s a “race against time” for injured duo Carla Rowe (hamstring) — “possibly the best player in the country at the moment” — and Niamh Collins (groin) to be fit for the 5 September final, given their respective setbacks in training last week.

The Sky Blues face either Cork or Meath in the showpiece, with the other semi-final down for decision this afternoon.

Screenshot 2020-11-24 at 9.04.07 AM

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Emma Duffy

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