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Assassin Aherne armed to fire Dubs to top

SHE'S as modest as Messi ... . and just as good.

Sinead Aherne has been lauded by such legends as Jimmy Keaveney and the late Páidí ó Sé.

She has also been described as the Wayne Rooney of the Dublin attack. So many young Dubs aspire to be like the Super Syl.

On Sunday, the Dubs lace up the boots again, and the dawn of a new season contains extra anticipation when Sinead is part of the journey.

Paul Harris included her in his book on the Fingal Sporting Heroes. A much merited honour. Paul's publication is well worth a read. The Fingal branch libraries stock it (8704495 or 8704496).

Sinead reflects on growing up in Malahide, the best place on the planet. Happy school days at Oliver Plunkett's and Malahide CS, and a long association with the club she loves so well, St Sylvester's.

She was called into the Dublin squad when she was 17. And she has won a fair collection since. The trophy cabinet includes All-Star awards, Golden Boot, international recognition and an All-Ireland title.

She brings such graceful charm to the jersey. She has the gift of finding space in a confession box.

Players trying to curtail her brilliance risk the sin-bin. Sinead's temperament is such a valued part of her fabric.

She just gets on with it, working hard and waiting for the next gap in the hedge. Sinead is as cool as a silvermint.

She knows full well that there are no shortcuts to success. The Jackies had endured much hardship before they produced that perfect All-Ireland final performance in 2010.

Football commitment means five or six days in the track-suit, but as the curtains open on another league campaign, Sinead is as eager as ever.

"The appetite and enthusiasm are there. There's so much potential in Dublin. We'd love to get back to the top again," she reflects.

"The standards have risen so much. Cork set the bar. They brought everybody on. I'd like to think there are more All-Irelands in Dublin. But for that to happen, you need everything to go right. Sometimes, it all comes down to the bounce of the ball."

Even on a tricky wicket, Sinead still has the class to make the net shake, rattle and hum. The sport has produced some icons over the years. Here's another.