The Captain Fantastic who leads by example
determined: Dublin senior football's Sinead Goldrick tells Alan O'Keeffe of the long road to the All-Ireland this Sunday
The young woman determined to lead Dublin to All-Ireland football glory on Sunday is regarded as a human dynamo.
Sinead Goldrick's boundless energy and drive when leading her county's senior ladies football team will be needed in abundance this Sunday in the All-Ireland senior football final.
When she leads the Dublin out against Cork at Croke Park, she intends set an example.
"Actions speak louder than words," said Goldrick, who is known as Goldie to her fellow Jackies.
While the hopes of the Dublin men's team were dashed this year, Goldrick and her team-mates know they have a chance to achieve glory for Dublin's GAA legions.
"I'll be aiming to lead by example in the final with hard work and by putting in the extra tackles. I'll be giving it my all," she said.
The incredible levels of fitness demanded for success have produced hugely exciting fixtures and soaring viewership figures for TG4 ladies football.
In this cauldron of hard-fought inter-county ladies football, Goldrick (24) was selected as an All-Star.
But she and her Dublin team-mates have all but forsaken a social life in their quest for glory for the blue jersey.
"I believe hard work pays off. And that's training five or six nights a week. I don't miss a social life at all because we all understand we're training for the All-Ireland final.
"It's not a sacrifice. It's a choice I'm happy to make," she said.
She does not have to explain her anti-social training schedule to her boyfriend because he happens to be David Treacy (24), Dublin's senior hurling star.
"David understands how important football is to me as hurling is to him. We'd be training on separate nights too. It's about trying to find a balance between work and your social life and training. Not that we have one [social life] at the moment," she said.
"I suppose we make things work from the understanding we have and how much commitment and involvement means to us," she said.
She and David had been friends for a considerable time.
He's a member of the Cuala GAA club and was living just 10 minutes away from Sinead. And she has been a driving force at centre field for the nearby Foxrock-Cabinteely GAA club which she captained to their first ever ladies' senior county final victory.
As the countdown continues to the All-Ireland, she said the whole Dublin squad and the management team have been "eating, sleeping and breathing football" in preparation for the huge task to challenging a formidable Cork team.
"Cork have won eight of the last nine finals. They're the Kilkenny hurlers of this football championship. We've huge respect for them. But the spirit among the 35 women in our squad is absolutely brilliant. The bond we've created is very strong," she said.
This Dublin team is still smarting from the defeat at the hands of Cork in the league final. "It was the first time a Dublin team reached a league final in the competition which was a great achievement. It was a close match. But we came off the pitch feeling we hadn't performed at our best.
"And we'd been beaten by Cork in the last two quarter-finals of the championship. So there's a lot of hurt and heartbreak. But we'll take the positives from those games which will motivate us in the final."
She loves being part of the Dublin set-up and said younger players like Carla Rowe have brought new inspiration to the squad.
Sinead also gets inspiration from team manager Gregory McGonigle and the management team and seek motivation throughout the sporting world. That includes the self-belief advice of Tipperary GAA's Liam Sheedy and Kerry's Tomas O Se.
She is inspired by the success of Olympic boxing heroine Katie Taylor and the victories of the Irish ladies rugby and soccer teams.
Sinead also heeds the advice of Dublin GAA statistics guru, Ray Boyne, who declared the four most important aspects to winning are technical, emotional, physical and mental strength.
"I always try to stay positive. There's a lot of failure in life but the key is to get back up there," she said.
"The hard work we do in the squad builds character," she said.
Indeed, if she has a hard day at work she finds that a demanding training session that night works wonders in improving her mood and contributes hugely to a happy outlook.
Sinead is also grateful to her parents, Seamus and Mary, for supporting her in her sporting endeavours since she was five or six years old.
Her winning ways are not confined to Gaelic football. As a pupil at Colaiste Iosagain, she was a member of school basketball teams that won 15 separate titles.
Later, she also went on to complete a social sciences degree at UCD and a masters degree in marketing at DIT.
She loves her work at Vodafone where she is involved in the company's 'World of Difference' programme which pays the salaries of four selected young people each year to work for the charity of their choice.
It is no surprise that the one non-competitive pastime she mentioned is swimming in the sea at the Forty Foot in Sandycove, even on cold winter days.
"I suppose that helps when we're training in the rain or snow," she admits.
This weekend, all of Dublin will be hoping that it is a very sunny and glorious day for Sinead and her teammates.
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