Saturday 21 September 2019

Ciara is all set to propel Liffey ship

Dublin's number one well aware of Westmeath's quality

SAFE HANDS: Dublin’s Ciara Trant is looking forward to the Leinster SFC Final against Westmeath on Sunday. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
SAFE HANDS: Dublin’s Ciara Trant is looking forward to the Leinster SFC Final against Westmeath on Sunday. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Ciara Trant is sitting upstairs in the AIG HQ. Overlooking the Liffey. The sun is coming into the room. She admits the nerves are beginning to jangle. Leinster final day on Sunday.

Joe Dolan's Westmeath sharing the stage. Dublin the heavy favourites.

Last season, Dublin won their seventh successive Leinster title. And in the last four finals, they have defeated Westmeath.

"This is the one game that always makes me nervous," explains Ciara. "The score lines over the last few years don't reflect how close the games were.

"I think it was two years ago that Westmeath hit the bar three times. They are always up for it.

"Yet being nervous on my part is probably a healthy thing. And it's good now to be starting the Championship."

But far from ideal for the Dubs and Westmeath to be going straight into the Leinster final, as has been the case in the last couple of years.

"It's tough on both teams having to go into the final without having played any games. But it's something we will have to deal with."

At this stage, Ciara has plenty of experience in the gloves. An All-Ireland winning All-Star. And respected as a custodian at the top of her game.

She says the years have been a good university. Helping her to read and understand the game better.

The concern of making a mistake is not as high as before. "In the past I would have been worried, but not so much anymore.

"If I make a mistake or something goes wrong, I can forget it pretty quickly. And I'd actually have to look back on the game to remember what exactly happened. I'm fairly good at parking things, and not letting them get the better of me.

"The way we approach the game is that we are a defensive unit, and an attacking unit. There's no player out there on their own."

Ciara welcomes the summer. The scent of the Championship. And the school holidays. She's a teacher.

"It's ideal for me at this time of the year. During the League I had to juggle the work and the football, but now I can devote more time to the football. It was one of the main reasons why I went for teaching."

Doing the homework is crucial. "The quality of the sport is so much better now than in the first year when we won the All-Ireland. And as a group, we drive our own standards.

"It's very player focused. There's a lot of focus on the skills. And making sure that on the given day we are better than the opposition. Taking small steps at a time.

"We leave no stone unturned. It's getting the little things right and seeing how it goes after that."

The new All-Ireland round-robin system means more games. "The more games the better. It gives you as a team the chance to develop more. It makes things more enjoyable when you have regular matches coming up, and no long gaps. It makes training more interesting.

"But all we are concentrating on now is producing a performance against Westmeath and winning the Leinster title."

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