herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Alison has to be in All-Stars mix

HER distinctive blue helmet has so often been the siren that has come to Dublin's rescue.

Alison Maguire has long been one of the county's top servants.

She is enjoying a sparkling season. She has been ultra-consistent.

She has been most productive from play, and from frees.

She collected the Player-of-the-Match award in Derry.

And her performances all year must surely put her in the All-Star hat.

She does her work without fuss, but with clinical precision.

BOUNCING

Keeping the sliotar bouncing until the knock-out stages was the aim.

"That was always the target. To keep alive in the Championship until we completed our Group games," says Alison.

Those games saw them suffer defeats but put on fine shows against Kilkenny in Parnell Park and Tipperary at Portlaoise.

A merited draw was secured away to Clare before the first win was achieved in Derry.

And the manner of that triumph summed up the Dublin desire this term.

"The whole panel and management put so much into getting the win in Derry.

"We knew we had to get the result to stay in the Championship, and we were all just thrilled.

"The commitment of the girls was fantastic. It was a hard-fought win. Derry really came at us late on, but every player stood up to be counted."

And the encouragement coming from the terraces also played a leading part in steering the ship to port.

"The support we got up in Derry made such a difference. The Friends of Dublin Hurling put on a bus for those who wanted to travel and we really appreciated that. We were under pressure coming to the end of the game, and the Dublin fans roaring us on certainly helped to get us over the line.

"It was such a nip and tuck game. So having the Dubs fans there meant so much to us all."

Alison brings an assured presence to Dublin's back door. She reads the play so well from centref-back.

She is also well capable of bringing her industry and accuracy to midfield. At St Vincent's, they rate her very highly indeed. She has earned Senior Championship and League honours there.

Vins last hit the big-time in 2007 when they defeated Naomh Mearnóg in the Championship final at Naomh Barróg.

She helped the side reach the last three Dublin Senior Championship finals.

They lost to Boden each time, but Vins are creeping ever closer. In the last two seasons, only a goal separated the teams in the final.

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