Wednesday 23 May 2018

Jackies look for a five-star final showing

Niamh McEvoy. Picture Credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Niamh McEvoy. Picture Credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

She is one of the most inventive footballers in the country. A diamond of a forward.

There are few better players at reading the play than Niamh McEvoy. And when the ball arrives at her doorstep, she already has it packaged and stamped.

Niamh was in Parnell Park during the week. The Dublin Ladies Press Night. She was in bright form. She has left the classroom behind for a couple of months. The scent of summer was in the air.

"I'm a primary school teacher and before the holidays we were focusing on the multi-cultural sides of things at Euro 2016. It was brilliant, and the kids really loved it."

The Dubs have a big final of their own this Sunday. They'll play Westmeath in the TG4 Leinster SFC final at Portlaoise (4.0).

Niamh and all concerned will be praying that they won't have to close the O'Moore Park roof.

When they met in the Group stage in Mullingar last month, the rain was so heavy that both teams had to change jerseys at half-time.

"The weather was awful that day," recalls Niamh, who would settle for the same result. Westmeath had some purposeful spells, but the Dubs won well in the end.

They have won their three Leinster pool games in impressive fashion against Laois, Westmeath and Meath.

"We hold the Leinster Championship in high regard. If we win on Sunday, it will be our fifth Leinster title in succession, and no Dublin team has ever done that. For a few of us, this will be our fifth successive final, so we will be really determined to win it."

The final is a repeat of last year's duel. "That was a good game, and we know Westmeath will give us a big test again. We have got a nice run of games in Leinster, and between the Championship and League, players have got valuable game time.

"We have played some top sides in the League, so that has been a terrific help for the younger players coming in the Championship. It meant they weren't coming into matches at the deep end.

"There's a lot of competition for places. Training has been sharp. There's real camederie in the group. Many of us have come through the under-age structure," she concludes.

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