Friday 28 October 2016

The Jackies jet set: key members travel home from France to play in All Ireland

Sarah McCaffrey in action for Dublin
Sarah McCaffrey in action for Dublin
Molly Lamb in action for the Dubs

GAA requires huge commitment, but for some of this year's Dublin ladies senior team it has involved jetting home from abroad to train.

Students Molly Lamb and Sarah McCaffrey have been based in Bordeaux since just after the season's semi-final.

While most people who play football at a county level have to contend with balancing work and family life with sport, the two hard-working students have also thrown in four-hour round air trips into the mix.

"I'm supposed to be on Erasmus so I've had to fly over and back a bit, but I'm home now for the final," Molly (20) told the Herald.

READ MORE: Dubs star Dr Healy looking for right tonic for match

"I've been lucky because I only had to travel over for one weekend's training because of how it worked out."

Check-in queues and airport food might be enough to put some people off but for the ladies' team there is something to prove this time around.

After a devastating loss in Croker this time last year the team are focused on putting on the best display possible - even if it means hopping on a plane.


Molly is studying French and Spanish in UCD and has ambitions of working as a teacher or a translator.

By chance, she ended up in the same French city as Sarah McCaffrey (20), who attends Trinity College.

The jet-setting pair have found the Dublin set-up accommodating to their studies abroad.

Molly Lamb in action for the Dubs

Manager Gregory McGonigle set up a one-on-one training session with Sarah who landed in Dublin after one of the team's training evenings.

READ MORE: Optimism in Dublin camp ahead of Cork clash

While in France the girls have been able to keep their fitness levels up and even managed to find some home comforts.

"There is a GAA club over there so I went out to them," Molly said.

"It's a mixed group, there are a few Erasmus students but there are also a lot of real beginners too. We were teaching little French kids how to block balls and they were loving it.

"They were mad keen on it so it was great."


Being away from home means that Molly, a Kilmacud Crokes player, has escaped the pressures leading up to the game but now that she is back in the capital she is thrilled to see blue flags everywhere.

"I haven't been around for a lot of the build-up but now that I'm home it's great. I had a man stop me in the street to say "go on the girls".

"The fact that the girls and the boys made it to the final is great. Hopefully, people will pay attention to us now and come out and have a look at our match.

"A lot of people don't know ladies' football but if they go out they'll be surprised at the level of it," she said.

"It'll be nice to get a double under the belt."

The team has lost a number of key players to the travel bug this year but the ladies who have stayed put have worked hard all year in preparation for Sunday.

The players aren't the only ones who have committed serious mileage to their bid for All-Ireland glory.

Their manager has travelled from Monaghan four evenings a week to work with them.

It's a big commitment and one he wouldn't have made without a belief that there was an All-Ireland-winning team, he said.

"The first thing I had to ask myself after last year is did I believe in Dublin enough to win an All-Ireland?"

"I believe there is an All-Ireland in them and that if we can do that the structure is there to go on to win two or three," he added.

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