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Saturday 3 December 2016

'Spirited' Jackies get a night off to celebrate before final countdown

Dublin players, from left, Lyndsey Davey, Noelle Healy and Siobhán Woods celebrate after the TG4 Ladies Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final game between Dublin and Mayo at Kingspan Breffni Park in Cavan. Photo: Piaras Ó Mí
Dublin players, from left, Lyndsey Davey, Noelle Healy and Siobhán Woods celebrate after the TG4 Ladies Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final game between Dublin and Mayo at Kingspan Breffni Park in Cavan. Photo: Piaras Ó Mí
LGFA President Marie Hickey presents Sinéad Aherne of Dublin with her player of the match trophy. Photo: Sportsfile
Sinéad Finnegan of Dublin and her supporters celebrate after game. Photo: Sportsfile

The Dublin ladies' team have been hailed as a "persistent" bunch - as they bounced back from last year's All-Ireland defeat to reach another final.

The Jackies, similarly to Jim Gavin's men's side, had to wait until the death in order to defeat Mayo in Saturday's gripping semi-final at Kingspan Park in Cavan.

The Girls in Blue were eight points clear at one stage, but were pegged back, only for star forward, Sinead Aherne to score a winning free with the final kick of the game.

The focus now turns to a September 25 and a showdown with either reigning All-Ireland champions Cork or challengers Monaghan, who were once managed by Dubs boss Greg McGonigle.

It means that, just like last year, Dublin's men's and ladies' sides will have an opportunity to win All-Ireland titles in the space of a week.

Despite the opportunity for double success, McGonigle only has one objective on his mind.

"I'm over the moon. We would have preferred Saturday to have been a bit more comfortable, but it was a bit like the Dublin men on Sunday - once you're in the final, it doesn't matter what way you get there," McGonigle said.

Worry

"It was probably more tense; we had a kick in the last second that won it. I'll just worry about the ladies' one and I'll let Jim Gavin worry about the men's," he added.

The manager said the way in which his Dublin team have reached the All-Ireland again, is a credit to the spirit they have in the group.

"I don't really know how best to say it, but we just have a group that never give up. We've a serious group of players, you know.

"Persistence is probably a word you'd put to them with regards to the type of people they are," he said.

The toll Saturday's crunch battle took on the players, means they will have a couple of days off to rest and unwind before getting into preparation for the big match in less than four weeks time.

They even made sure to take the chance to celebrate their victory on Saturday night - a well-earned break, according to the boss.

"You have to let the girls go out on a Saturday night after the game," he said.

"They have to unwind. They're putting in a lot of time and a lot of concentration, so they need a couple of days off to relax," he added.

Cork take on Monaghan at Limerick's Gaelic Grounds this Saturday.

The winners will face the Jackies at Croke Park on Sunday, September 25 - with the Dubs aiming for their first All-Ireland title in six years.

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