Sinéad Goldrick. PA Images/SPORTSFILE.
Around The World

Between two clubs: Setting the Goldrick standard in South Dublin and Melbourne

Sinéad Goldrick on all things Foxrock-Cabinteely, Dublin and Melbourne FC, their similar cultures and her rollercoaster experience over the past few months.

“WE HAD OUR first game on Friday. I think I had my gear ready on Tuesday, I was so excited,” Dublin and Melbourne FC star Sinéad Goldrick grins down a Zoom call.

Rooted firmly back on home soil with her future in Australia up in the air, the seven-time All-Star is happy to talk about everything and anything. But discussing her first love — football — and her beloved club of Foxrock-Cabinteely is where she’s most comfortable.

After a truly turbulent time which saw her catapulted from an impressive debut season with Aussie Rules side Melbourne straight into lockdown in south Dublin, a long-awaited run-out in the navy and green of Fox-Cab last week was most welcome as some normality crept back into Goldrick’s life.

“It was really, really good to be back,” she smiles. How much she enjoyed the win over Ballyboden St Enda’s shines through with every word.

The intensity. Going from zero to 100 with mind and body. The feeling where you can’t run any more. She, like so many others, missed all of that.

Even the fact that her family were there to watch the game — face-masked like everyone else — meant a lot. Back to her roots, back to where she belongs. Surrounded by those she’s grown up playing with.

“Even just chatting with all the girls, we were just like ‘Thank God that’s over!’ because we were wrecked,” she laughs.

“I know Natalia Hyland, who used to play for Dublin, is back from travelling. She was away for five or six years and she still has that kick on her that she had before. That was the first time I’ve seen her in five or six years.

After the game we were just chatting and that’s the part that you love about Gaelic too, those kind of bonds you create. I haven’t spoken to her since she was away, a few Instagram DMs but nothing major so seeing her was just lovely.”

As was getting a full run-out after months of individual training through the Covid-19-enforced shutdown. She’s said it before, she’ll say it again: “Dublin and Fox-Cab are my number one and Gaelic will always be number one,” so she wanted to make sure she was at her brilliant best.

The past few weeks and months have put just how much Fox-Cab means to her into a clearer focus. As everyone says, the club is where you start and where you finish no matter what you do in between.

It’s always been there and always will be, and Goldrick is pleased to give club football her undivided attention for the coming weeks.

sinead-goldrick-celebrate-after-the-game-with-cillian-adam-and-grace-mccann-goldbrick Goldrick celebrates with family after the 2019 All-Ireland final. Bryan Keane / INPHO Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

“We’ve never had the opportunity to be training full time with the club,” the four-time All-Ireland winner points out. “We come back in on a Monday and you have a championship game on the Wednesday.

“There’s girls that have been training for months and you’re trying to come down to the club as much as you can but sometimes you don’t have the opportunity. To have this long with the club is such a novelty.

In our club, there’s five or six girls that used to be our water girls when we were in the senior All-Ireland campaign, then they got moved into training with us and now they’re starters on the team. That’s just something special.

“Being at the afters of peoples’ weddings as these minors and stuff like that, to see them transition into proper contenders on our team, going head-to-head against players is just something that makes it all special with the club.

“You’re literally cycling down 10 minutes to the club and I think everyone’s on a great boost. We’re just happy to be back playing.”

Fox-Cab — Dublin and Leinster champions, and All-Ireland semi-finalists or finalists for each of the past five years — have enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks. Since their foundation in 2005, they’ve gone from not having enough players to field an adult team in a ‘GAA blackspot’  to clawing their way from Junior E to the All-Ireland senior final.

Now with over 500 playing members, stellar work has been put in at all levels across the board, while the culture has allowed for success to breed and young talent to thrive.

The bond between older, more experienced players and the younger crop coming through is clear to see, with club stalwarts like Goldrick giving a helping hand with coaching and advising at times.

Sometimes you don’t realise it: those young girls come to your game and they would think that you’re a role model,” she nods. “I used to think that of Sinéad Aherne, do you know what I mean?

“I think it is important that you give back to the club all the time if you’re asked to do something because you might not realise it but if you’re training them once or that one conversation you have with them, that might make them continue to play football.

“With Covid, your local community does resonate more with you, how much Fox-Cab means to me anyway.”

Goldrick’s pride in Fox-Cab, how far the club and ladies football in general in the area has come is clearly evident. After living in hockey’s shadow for so long, it’s one of the main sports around now with plenty of teams developing and participation levels rising. 

amanda-casey-with-sinead-goldrick Facing Donaghmoyne in the 2016 All-Ireland final. Tommy Grealy / INPHO Tommy Grealy / INPHO / INPHO

That pleases her, and it’s something she takes great joy in seeing first-hand. It’s something she witnessed at the Kellogg’s Cúl Camps earlier this week too.

“We were down doing the photography yesterday and the girls were playing with the boys,” she continues. “I think that’s the way it should be.

Everyone is equal and I think if you’re teaching people at eight or nine differences between a boy and a girl not being at the same standard, you’re making them believe that.

“Obviously you make sure it’s safe and everything like that but I think it’s great to see boys and girls being mixed together — especially at that younger age, and then obviously when they get to U12 or 14, that’s when you need to separate it.”

The progression of ladies football over the past few years has been phenomenal — and has led to several top stars being given the opportunity to play professionally in the Australian Football League Women’s [AFLW].

Goldrick was one of 18 involved in the 2020 season, where she played alongside Dublin team-mate Niamh McEvoy at Melbourne. After impressing in their respective debut campaigns, the duo arrived on home soil prematurely due to the pandemic.

In turn, they missed their first match of the AFLW Final Series but the league was cancelled shortly after. Being the other side of the world amidst the madness was quite a surreal experience.

“The club actually sent us home. We would have wanted to stay and play but they felt it was more important to get us home because I think they knew how serious everything was going to be.

“Melbourne was probably two weeks behind where Dublin was. Restaurants were open. I literally had to pack my bag in three or four hours and left a lot of stuff in Melbourne because it was such a rush.

It was strange to be home and then you see the reality of everything and it sets in and I was glad to be back and grateful for the club to put us on the plane.

That duty of care for the players, and culture at the club in general, was just like that she enjoys on home soil with Fox-Cab and Dublin. The entire Australian experience was a thoroughly enjoyable one from start to finish.

“They were just really nice, a really good culture in Melbourne. There’s a player, Daisy Pearce, who kind of set up AFLW and she was our captain and they just had so much patience for us on how we did everything. I was just really grateful because I had my hand broken for the first three weeks.

aflw-magpies-demons Facing Collingwood in Oz. AAP / PA Images AAP / PA Images / PA Images

“If you dropped the ball, they were just really flexible and adaptable. Going over there and trying to learn a whole new game, you probably put a lot of pressure on yourself. They were really good in saying, ‘You don’t have to be able to do this at this stage. Be patient.’

“You want to go over there and set your mark down and you don’t have an opportunity to do that for a while because you have to learn so much of the rules and everything.”

Goldrick soon found her groove and excelled as a running back, focusing on winning contests and possessions, man-marking and breaking the line as a runner which she so regularly does as an attacking half-back on these shores. And then protecting the goals, of course.

“It’s complete full-contact, the bounce of the ball is different,” she explains. “There are elements that are comparable but there are so many other elements to it and you’re challenging yourself.

“But I liked that challenge of trying to understand a game I hadn’t played before.”

We worked a lot on technique. That was something I wanted to focus on because I wanted to make sure I was safely tackling and making sure I have their skillset because it’s a fast game and you don’t want to be going into anything thinking you’re not doing it correctly because that’s when you get injured.”

She’s had her fair share of injury struggles of late between that broken hand, stitches in her face after a crunching tackle, and various hamstring flare-ups.

After concentrating on rehab and strength and conditioning Down Under, and continuing that her along with plenty of Gaelic football skill work, Goldrick is feeling fit and ready.

As she weighs up her options and decides whether to stay rooted in Dublin or head to Australia for a second year, Goldrick is keeping a close eye on her adopted club and city in Melbourne.

“They’re in a second lockdown. For six to eight weeks they’re only allowed out for one hour a day. When you think about that, and what position we’re in, you’re just like, ‘Thank God we’re able to play football.’

“They’re devastated because a few of them were back training together and stuff like that. Obviously I think a second lockdown hits you more mentally. I just hope we’re continuing our social distance guidelines and wearing masks because it could very easily happen.

“When you know people it resonates more with you and you can chat to a few of the girls and know what they’re going through.”

sinead-goldrick On the ball for Dublin. Tommy Dickson / INPHO Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

Here, Goldrick is just counting her lucky blessings that she can play football at the moment and is enjoying every second.

Four-in-a-row is surely being thrown around and while everyone in the Dublin set-up knows every year is a clean slate, that’s not even on their radar right now. The 30-year-old is not thinking about club championships, the Dublin camp or All-Irelands, she’s just happy to be back playing.

It’s all about taking it step by step.

That said, the draws for the 2020 All-Ireland senior championship were made recently and with Dublin in a group with Donegal and Waterford, must-win games are coming down the line.

“It’s scary, but that’s what you want,” Goldrick nods, allowing her mind to wander for a minute. “You want to have that feeling of possibly being knocked out. It is really exciting.

“No matter what format was taken, you’re just happy to play any game. Donegal are excellent, they’ve bet us in the league quite often. Waterford have put it up to us too so it’s a hard draw.

“At the moment I know in Dublin we’re just saying to everyone club comes first. We’re really focusing on injury-prevention and making sure we’re doing our strength and conditioning because when we do come back to Dublin, it’s going to be a step up again.

“We just have to make sure that we’re ready for that because it’s such knockout that if you’re not ready in the first game, you could be gone.”


Dublin footballer Sinéad Goldrick was on hand as Kellogg Celebrated its 1 Millionth Child at the beginning of the 2020 Kellogg’s GAA Cúl Camps.  

The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us!

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel