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Thursday 8 December 2016

Why Dubs star Niamh McEvoy is inspired by Sinead Aherne on eve of final day

Dublin's Niamh McEvoy in action against Armagh's Sinéad McCleary during their TG4
Ladies Football All-Ireland SFC semi-final at Parnell Park.
Dublin's Niamh McEvoy in action against Armagh's Sinéad McCleary during their TG4 Ladies Football All-Ireland SFC semi-final at Parnell Park.

There was a ring on the bell. Niamh McEvoy opened the door.

It was Sinéad Aherne. Long time no see. Sinéad had been away travelling, and away from the Dublin team which she has graced with so much elegance.

"I was so delighted to see her," says her St Sylvester's colleague.

"We had a lovely chat over a cup of tea. She is a great person to have around in a build-up to an All-Ireland final."

Niamh states that she feels fortunate to have played with Sinéad for club and county.

"I have admired her so much over the years. She is such an outstanding forward.

"She is always looking to improve, regardless of how she has done in a game. If she scored eight points, she'd still be thinking of the chance she missed.

Humble

"She is a very humble player. She works so hard for the team.

"Last year, she was one of the Dublin players that came out with the highest amount of tackles made. And that was from a player in the full-forward line. It just showed how hard she works."

Niamh is no stranger to hard graft herself. She has been a real leader in Dublin's forward unit this season.

Her anticipation, ball skills and vision have played a central role in Dublin advancing to Sunday's TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship final against Cork in Croke Park (4.00).

She helped the Blues lift the title for the first time in 2010, and she was on board last season for the one point defeat to Cork.

She holds the champions in high esteem. The legendary Leesiders.

"It's great to be back in the final again. There's a good atmosphere in the build-up.

"We are concentrating hard on the process rather than the outcome. We have been focusing on a few things we need to tweak before the game."

The Jackies have enjoyed an unbeaten run to the red carpet. Champions of Leinster, and wins over Monaghan and Armagh.

"We have had some hard fought battles. In the Leinster Championship, Laois and Westmeath tested us.

"We were just happy to have come through all the matches. We have learnt a lot."

She's hoping that a big Dublin crowd will help to edge them into harbour.

"The support has grown for us over the last number of seasons. Last year's attendance was the highest at the final for a number of years.

"A lot of Dublin supporters came out to get behind us, and we hope they'll do so again."

In the stands, they could well be singing 'There's only one Niamh McEvoy'.

There used to be two, but the brilliant Niamh McEvoy of Parnell's has now retired.

In Malahide, the faithful, and Sinéad Aherne, will be cheering on two of their numbers, Nicole Owens and the maestro McEvoy.

Tickets for the All Ireland final are available to purchase via www.tickets.ie and from select Centra and Supervalu stores Adults €25, students / senior citizens €10, U14's €5. Tickets are also available from LGFA Office Phone: 01-8363156.

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