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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Bohan backing blues to work way to victory

Mick rates Mayo but says Jackies ready

The great Cora Staunton of Mayo in action against Donegal’s Nicole McLaughlin during the TG4 Ladies Football All-Ireland Senior Championship quarter-final in Cusack Park last month. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
The great Cora Staunton of Mayo in action against Donegal’s Nicole McLaughlin during the TG4 Ladies Football All-Ireland Senior Championship quarter-final in Cusack Park last month. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

The biggest room in Parnell Park. In comes Mick Bohan. He pulls up a chair. A little semi-circle forms around him. The record buttons are pressed.

The teacher delivers a master class.

He goes back to 2003. He was the Dublin ladies football manager. He brought them to the final against Mayo. Dublin's first senior final.

"What lost it for us that day was inexperience," Mick recounts. "We had no experience of the day, and that included management.

"I hadn't been involved in an All-Ireland final with anybody. And now, 14 years later, this is my sixth.

Mick Bohan, manager of Dublin. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Mick Bohan, manager of Dublin. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

"You approach it differently. You are not as fazed by it. You don't get distracted by it."

Leading

Mick has been a leading lieutenant with Jim Gavin over the years. Gerry McGill guided Dublin to the All-Ireland title in 2010. And Gregory McGonigle came within a knuckle of doing the same over the last three years.

Then when Greg stepped away, the phone rang for Mick. He didn't have to think twice.

"I am an incredibly proud Dub. I have been lucky enough to have been involved with county development squads, minor teams, U21s and women's teams. Serving the Dublin flag is an easy call."

Dublin won't lack hunger. Three successive finals defeats to Cork. But no Cork this time.

But, no matter who the opposition are, Mick says it's all about looking in the mirror.

"The mental block is not Cork. It's not Croke Park. The mental block is in the challenge to perform.

"Distraction causes your performance to slip off. That's why teams don't finish. They look over their shoulder.

"The key to this group, and this is what we have been saying all year, is to make sure to finish games out.

"Forget about the result. Forget about the trophy. Forget about the clock. It's all about the performance. It will be no different this time."

Mick believes that the last few years will be of benefit.

"Those experiences will definitely stand to them."

And the fact that a new management always brings a bounce.

"There have been quite a change in personnel and positions on the team. Even from our National League game with Mayo six months ago, there have been six personnel changes and seven positional changes. So that is pretty significant.

"Sinéad Finnegan played most of her football at centre-back. But she has been a revelation at full-back.

"Likewise, Noelle Healy went into the inside-line and caused all sorts of damage. We have placed a huge emphasis on blocking and tackling. In the last two games, I felt our swarm defending was excellent. We turned over quite an amount of ball.

"We feel we are coming into the final in good fettle. Leinster is not as competitive as we would have liked, but it is improving.

"Westmeath going to Division 1 will make a difference next year. But the reality is that players in lower divisions do things slower.

"Waterford are a decent team. We did a lot of good things right against Kerry.

"We feel we have gone up a level each time we have played. But we feel we can reach another level."

Mick rates Mayo highly.

He's a big fan of Cora Staunton.

"Cora is still doing the damage. She is capable of doing a lot of things that other girls can't.

"But they have many other strings to their bow as well. I have always said that the best two teams get to the final, and that the best team will win it."

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