herald

Friday 6 December 2019

Jackies play it cool to grab three-in-a-row... watched by a whopping 56,114 fans

Supporters from Fingallians GAA at the All-Ireland Ladies final
Supporters from Fingallians GAA at the All-Ireland Ladies final
Niamh Healy with Noah Brogan
Susie (4) and Callie Lepage (6)
Seamus Cassidy with Claire Heffernan Cassidy and Declan Brennan, Drumcondra at the All-Ireland Ladies Final yesterday

If the Dublin Ladies felt pressure to replicate the All-Ireland success of the men's team the day before, they didn't show it.

Fans had even more reason to celebrate after the Ladies football team sealed the deal on their three-in-a-row bid against Galway at Croke Park yesterday.

It was a historic sporting weekend for the city after the men's team succeeded in their drive for five on Saturday against Kerry - and fans could not have been more thrilled.

There are fans and then there are Dublin fans. Some joked on the way into the ladies' final they had barely gone home before they were back, less than 24 hours later.

If there were fears attendance would be hit by having two finals on the same weekend, this was not borne out.

Instead, many Dubliners made a GAA festival of the weekend. Last year produced a landmark attendance at the ladies' final of 50,141 but yesterday that rose to a record 56,114, despite miserable conditions.

Among the supporters who enjoyed the day was Claire Heffernan Cassidy, from Drumcondra, sister of late Dublin star Kevin 'Heffo' Heffernan, who made his name as both a player and former Dubs manager.

"He would have loved to have seen the ladies out," she told the Herald.

Slippy

"The conditions were dreadful. I was really sorry for them because the pitch was slippy and the ball was greasy and you have to make do with what you have. Both teams had to make do with that.

"The attendance was amazing. It's just growing and growing for them.

"It was great to see the support for the ladies. I am delighted the women are doing so well."

Her brother passed away six years ago.

"In '58 he was the captain of the Dublin team that won the All-Ireland and then he came in as manager. So we have had glorious years under him," she said.

Claire had enjoyed a great sporting weekend in Croke Park, getting to go there two days running.

"We enjoyed the game. I thought the two teams did great under the circumstances."

Aoife O'Reilly, from Swords, said: "I thought it was a brilliant match. It was really, really competitive from both sides.

"It was just a pity about the weather. The ball was very slippy and meant it was difficult to hold on to possession.

"But Dublin and Galway put up a super fight and it was lucky that Dublin got over the line in the end."

She said the goals for Dublin settled their nerves and were able to take their points then.

The atmosphere was brilliant and the attendance great, said the 26-year-old.

The Jackies came out on top by 2-3 to 0-4 in a low-scoring battle in wind and rain to make their own history.

The weather contributed to a scoreless first 20 minutes before a Sinead Goldrick goal got the ball rolling and a second-half green flag from Hannah O'Neill was enough to keep Galway at arm's length.

Meanwhile, Dublin boss Mick Bohan hailed his team's elder stateswomen in the aftermath of the match.

"The older girls, the Sinead Ahernes, the Lyndseys, the Goldys have been unbelievable the way they've brought the kids on," Bohan told TG4.

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