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Wednesday 13 December 2017

FOCUS

No regrets for Nadine THE Duke, Tom Gilligan, he's been Na Fianna's best pal for years now.

"Some sponsors put their name on the jersey and that's the end of it. But not Tom," reveals Na Fianna's Nadine Doherty. "Tom is at every match. He knows everybody's name, and he has been fantastic to us all down the years."

Tom was at the Leinster final in Newbridge. "Will you ever forget that? The weather was awful. It was just miserable to be playing in those conditions," recalls Nadine.

"Thank God we won. It would have been worse had we lost. People say it must be great to play in a Leinster final, and it is, but the conditions that afternoon took so much from the experience."

The victory earned the Glasnevin club an All-Ireland semi-final date with Donoughmore.

"That was my personal highlight of the year," says Nadine. "It was at home on the Mobhi Road, There was a huge crowd. And we beat one of the top sides.

"We were well beaten by Carnacon in the All-Ireland final. They were the much better team on the day. You couldn't argue. That was a disappointment, but overall it was a very good year."

Nadine has been with Na Fianna for six years. She captained them to their first title in 2009. She hails from Donegal.

"I retired from inter-county three years ago. Donegal were in transition and the travelling was taking its toll. It was a three-hour trip each time. It just wasn't viable and I couldn't do it anymore.

"I decided to fully focus on Na Fianna. Combining club and county is hard, even for players who are based in their own county.

"I have no regrets. The standard of Dublin football is very high. Every week I go out, I'm marking an inter-county player."

It was fellow Donegal woman, Lorraine O'Sullivan, who led Na Fianna to Dublin and Leinster glory in 2011.

"Lorraine is a great captain. She leads by example on and off the pitch," states Nadine.

The squad have got the boots out from under the stairs again.

"Our focus will be on Dublin. And Dublin only. We won't be thinking about winning Leinster or the All-Ireland title.

"Dublin football is so competitive. We set the bar last year, just like Ballyboden had done for years. But we are there to be knocked off our perch now.

"A lot of teams will want to beat us. They will have learned from how we played last season, and I'm sure they'll be working on tactics to beat us.

"We were just thrilled to have come out of Dublin last year. Anything after that was a massive bonus. Three years ago we lost so early in Leinster, so we had a big incentive to make up for that.

"The support we got all year from everybody in the club was brilliant. All the lads, the parents and the juvenile teams were brilliant. It made the campaign all that more special.

"And we all hope that as many Na Fianna members as possible join us for our presentation next Saturday at the Harcourt Hotel.

"It should be a great night. The D-Two Nightclub at the hotel have also been kind sponsors."

p Tickets are available at the Na Fianna clubhouse, or from Sarah Quinn (0860836708) or Nadine Doherty (0861988535).

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