Women’s All-Ireland football final preview: Dublin need to keep foot to floor

Gregory McGonigle and his charges face huge task against favourites Cork

Dublin’s Sinead Aherne and Cork’s Rena Buckley battle for possession in last year’s All-Ireland final. Photograph: Alan Betson

Dublin’s Sinead Aherne and Cork’s Rena Buckley battle for possession in last year’s All-Ireland final. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Dublin and their manager Gregory McGonigle face a monumental psychological battle against Cork in tomorrow’s All-Ireland final.

Derry native McGonigle was in charge when the Dubs lost the 2014 and 2015 deciders against the Leesiders, and he was also Monaghan supremo in 2011 and 2013 when they finished as runners-up to Cork.

There’s no doubting Dublin’s class and talent but they’re facing a Cork team who can win from positions of dominance and adversity.

When the counties met in the 2013 quarter-final, Cork came from nine points down to win.

A year later, they were 10 points behind with less than 20 minutes remaining and still managed to squeeze over the line.

As recently as April, in the Lidl National League Division One semi-final, Dublin led by 0-9 to 1-4 at the break but were rinsed in the second half as Cork outscored their opponents by 0-11 to 0-2.

If Dublin find themselves in a winning position again, they can’t afford to retreat into their shells. That’s just playing into Cork’s hands.

Classic

Women’s football officials hope the record attendance of 33,000 (for the Mayo-Laois final in 2001) can be bettered tomorrow.

But fans making the trip to Croke Park shouldn’t necessarily expect a classic.

Both teams are expected to set up quite defensively and this game will be won and lost in the middle third.

Cork midfield duo Briege Corkery and Rena Buckley have added motivation after losing out in the camogie decider to Kilkenny.

If they can help their side across the line, they’ll each collect a 17th All-Ireland senior medal – an 11th football success added to six camogie wins.

The bookies think they’ll do it, with Cork installed as 1/2 favourites, while Dublin are on offer at 15/8. We’re not about to argue, but the draw, priced up at 9/1, can’t be discounted.

Cork legend Valerie Mulcahy scored 0-7 (six frees) in last year’s final but has now retired, while Dublin have Sinead Aherne back in harness. She missed last year’s game after spending time travelling abroad.

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