Saturday 22 September 2018

clontarf's crusader excelling for blues

Dub star Sarah would give her big brother Jack a run for his money

NO shortage of role-models for Sarah McCaffrey to ponder.

She dips into the basket and picks out Jerome Westbrooks.

Sarah played a lot of basketball. Jerome was her coach in secondary school.

She learned much. She's still living by those lessons today.

Basketball and football are a tidy mix. The sure hands, the quick feet, the sharp vision.

Denise Masterson was another highly accomplished basketballer before she donned the blue.

And like the former county captain, Sarah plays in the Dublin midfield.

Sarah is well able to nip forward a clip over a point, and she has chiselled a formidable midfield partnership with Molly Lamb.

The season has been going well. Not yet August and two major titles in the bank.

The All-Ireland U21 Aisling McGing title and the Leinster crown.

Both were hard won. The U21 final against Cork in Nenagh was one of the games of the decade.

And last week's provincial success over Westmeath in Carlow also had the crowd on their feet.

Both matches deserved a packed theatre.

"Yes, it would be fantastic if we got bigger crowds," says Sarah.

The Leinster final was certainly more compelling than last year's edition which Dublin beat Laois in a canter.

It was Sarah's first season on the senior side. She made her Championship debut against Kildare.

Dad, Noel, the former Dublin senior footballer, was in the audience. He never misses a match. Her brother Jack, the current Dublin wing-back speedster, also takes his seat when commitments allow.

Noel was a good one. Sarah has heard the stories. "But I never saw him playing myself," she smiles.

She was thrilled when Clontarf, managed by Noel, advanced to the Dublin Senior Football Championship quarter-final.

They secured their ticket against Skerries Harps in Donabate. "Getting to the last-eight of the Dublin SFC is a terrific achievement for the team. I had training the same night, so I couldn't go, but I was delighted when I heard the result."

Sarah loves the Tarf. She helped to raise funds for the club by taking part in 'The Wedding of the Year' earlier this term.

Her next big date is the All-Ireland Senior Championship quarter-final.

"We had a brilliant year last season, getting to the Division 1 League final, winning Leinster and reaching the All-Ireland final.

"Unfortunately, it didn't end the way we wanted, but we hope now to draw on that experience.


"Cork are a strong team. They have set the bar. But we hope to drive on now ourselves."

And that's what they did in lifting the Mary Ramsbottom Cup. Sinead Goldrick was to the fore.

She wore number five on her back. And she still managed to send over three points.

On a day when Dublin's resolve was being tested, the Fox Cab led the way home.

"You wouldn't get a better role model than Sinead Goldrick. And I'm lucky that there are so many role-models on the Dublin side."

Sarah herself brings such an assured presence to the engine room. And she believes the right structures are in place in the capital's under-age department for more future seniors to climb their stairs.

"Ultimately, it's all about developing players for the senior team."

Hopefully, a few more gems like Sarah will emerge into the sunshine.

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