Wednesday 24 January 2018

Fay leading Jackies into new chapter

ALL change for the Jackies. Peter Clarke is the new name on the manager's door.

And Gemma Fay takes over as captain from the TG4 Goalkeeper of the Decade, Cliodhna O'Connor.

The All-Ireland winning defender and All-Star has been one of Dublin's most distinguished performers down through the years.

Dublin chairperson, Maureen King, was the first to salute the contribution of Ireland's number one, and to welcome her successor to the armband.

"Gemma will do a top job. She has such vast experience and she is an inspiration to the girls," noted Maureen.

"She has won so much in the game, and she'll always give 100 per cent. Like Cliodhna, she is a wonderful servant to Dublin ladies football."

The new boss is also highly regarded. He knows the game. He was busy last season.

"Well, at least there will be less travelling this year," he quips.

Last term he was on the management team that guided Monaghan to the All-Ireland final.

He also tasted success, yet again, with DCU, and he also found the time to be involved with Ulster.

He wore all caps with distinction. He was confirmed as Dublin manager in October.

Now the National League comes sharply into view. And being back in Division 1 is, according to Peter, the only place to be.

"There's a much better standard of football there. The All-Ireland winners are going to come from that Division," he states.

"Division 2 can give a team a false sense of security. Look at last year. Dublin beat Meath in the Division 2 final, but then lost to them in the Leinster Championship.

"You could be winning games by big margins, but, ultimately, that's of no value. It is better to be meeting quality teams, week in, week out."

It was ironic that Dublin were relegated from Division 1 in 2010, the year they lifted the Brendan Martin Cup for the first time.

The Dubs begin their Division 1 campaign on Sunday week away to Kildare. They'll also have away assignments against Meath, Tyrone and Donegal. They only have Cork and Laois at home.

Cork and Laois will be two very attractive fixtures for the city. And Dublin officials are hoping that the turnstiles will be spinning.

Peter has assembled a trusty crew -- Angie McNally (Ballinteer St John's), Colm Kearney (St Sylvester's), Pat Ring (Foxrock Cabinteely) and Cathy Gallagher (Trinity College).

Peter and Angie have worked together with DCU. The All-Star was on the Tommy Brown ticket in 2010.

Dublin have been fine-tuning with challenge matches. There's keen competition for places.

"It's just a matter of getting settled now. We have a good squad and it's all about getting the mix right," says Peter.

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