Kim Flood downplays Dublin’s role as favourites against Armagh
Women’s All-Ireland football semi-final – Dublin v Armagh, Parnell Park, Saturday, 2pm
Kim Flood (left) in action for Dublin. Flood is a big admirer of Armagh, especially their star midfielder Caroline O’Hanlon. Photograph: Inpho
Such has been Cork’s merciless stranglehold on the All-Ireland football title since 2005, only Dublin’s triumph in 2010 interrupting their reign, you’d be forgiven for thinking the inevitable prize for the winners of the Armagh v Dublin semi-final at Parnell Park is the title of ‘2015 Runners-up’.
Cork, of course, have their semi-final work done, seeing off Kerry with relative ease to reach their 11th final in 12 years, and later this month they will look to emulate their 2005-09 five-in-a-row.
But the notion that either Armagh or Dublin would be just a hurdle of minimal height for Cork to surmount en route to that achievement brings a smile to Kim Flood’s face. “Everyone wants to be them, everyone wants to beat them,” said the Dublin forward, “and ourselves and Armagh would love to play them in the final – beat them and then you really know you’re the best.”
And having pressed pause on her rugby sevens career, which had taken her all the way to the national squad where her sister Stacey is an established member, Flood wants nothing more than another crack at Cork at Croke Park. Her first appearance in the stadium, when she was a mere teenager, ended in a one point defeat in the 2009 All-Ireland final. She has a score to settle, then.
Actually, it wasn’t her Croke Park debut. “I don’t know if it counts, I played there at half-time in the men’s All-Ireland final when I was young, still in primary school. They did a mini-sevens thing at half-time, so I got picked to play on that – it was in front of the men’s crowd, I stood on the pitch looking around for about five minutes, next thing I knew it was half time.
“I don’t think I’d even touched the ball, I was just staring at the size of the crowd. I was in absolute awe. Brilliant. A dream come true. All I ever wanted was to play there.”
Sign three players for Dublin from other counties.
“First,” she says, without hesitation, “Caroline O’Hanlon! We’ll take her if she wants to move down south,” she says of the 2014 player of the year. “She’s just a phenomenal athlete, plays netball for Northern Ireland too. So yeah, we’ll have her,” she laughs.
Second and third choices? “Cork’s Rena Buckley, legend, and I’d take Geraldine McLaughlin from Donegal, a great forward, I played with her in college in Sligo, I just think she’s brilliant. Ah, Fantasy football!”
Back to reality. “Armagh are a brilliant side, they’ve top class players, like Caroline and Aimee Mackin, who has made such a huge impact for them this year. It’ll be a very close game, 60 minutes from Cork in Croke Park, everyone is going to bring absolutely everything they can. Raring to go, cannot wait.”