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Friday 15 November 2019

'Winning is addictive'

Jackies' number 1 keen to keep All-Ireland habit

Dublin keeper Ciara Trant has the desire for more All-Irelands
Dublin keeper Ciara Trant has the desire for more All-Irelands

Summer and winter, chalk and cheese for Ciara Trant. She's a teacher.

At St Michael's Secondary School, Finglas. "I love it there," said the Dublin keeper.

It's the Dublin Ladies Football Press Night at DCU, the place where she refines her craft.

Stephen Cluxton does all his best work here. Ciara is very much in the Fan Club of a fellow Dublin number 1.

She had big gloves to fill herself - Cliodhna O'Connor, one of the best goalkeepers the sport has seen.

And even in the last few years, Ciara has seen the climate change. How distribution is now valued as much as shot-stopping. And is such a priority in the goalkeeper's kit bag.

She is back in the class-room for a couple of weeks now. Happy that the busy days offer distraction from the concerns of playing in the All-Ireland final.

This will be her fifth time to protect Dublin's Castle on September's big day.

Yet she feels blessed to have the three months off in the summer. "It's nice and it's a novelty for me.

"I like my summer's full of football. I have been sports-mad since I was a kid. I'd love the professional life of an athlete," she said.

She says it seems another lifetime ago when the season began.

"It's such a long season. I can't even remember January. It becomes a blur.

"And her we are now with another few days to go before the final and I'm going to take in every minute."

The Dublin-Kerry replay has also turned up the volume in the Trant household. "It's going to be such a special weekend. My family are really looking forward to it," said Ciara.

"The weekend is going to be soaked in football. It's a very special time for Dublin and I'm just looking forward to being a part of it all."

Dublin know well the scent of a September morn. For three years in succession, Cork pipped them to the big prize.

Breath

Gregory McGonigle a breath away from leading the county to their second All-Ireland win, following in the boots of Gerry McGill.

Ciara played in the losing finals of 2015 and 2016. Then came the 2017 final victory over Mayo.

"I know people say that defeat makes you hungry to achieve, but when we won in 2017 that made me hungrier than any defeat," she said.

"Winning is a habit. It's addictive. It's a high you chase. Every inter-county footballer is chasing the feeling of winning the All-Ireland."

Yet having experienced a bad day makes a good day feel even better.

"Yes, we have known the flip side of success. And in fairness to Mick (Bohan) and the management team, they have been great at getting us to enjoy our success.

"And to savour it as much as we can.

"It's important to celebrate your achievements. And we do that without getting distracted by the dread of pre-season training.

"We know the hard work has to start eventually.

"Once the football starts back in January, we park the previous season. And it's then full steam ahead for the rest of the season."

Journey's end arrives on Sunday. Galway back in their first All-Ireland final since 2005. They beat Dublin in the semi-final that season.

"Galway are a good side. I think it's a game that could go down to the wire. It should be a very entertaining game," said Trant.

"It's going to be a great day in Croke Park with the three games. Galway will bring a massive crowd with them.

"And, hopefully, Dublin will get out the numbers again.

"Obviously, we are focused on producing a performance, but we all want to see another special day for ladies' football in Croke Park."

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