Sinead Aherne remains focused on Sunday's decider
By Cian O’Connell
These are exciting and interesting times for Ladies Football with Dublin captain Sinead Aherne acknowledging that Sunday’s All Ireland Final against Cork carries real intrigue.
Cork have beaten Dublin in four deciders in the last decade and the upcoming encounter is the latest chapter in an enduring rivalry.
Dublin claimed glory in impressive fashion when defeating Mayo last September and that triumph provided Mick Bohan’s outfit with confidence and optimism according to Aherne.
“It hasn't been something that we have explicitly spoken about, but I think it just gives you a confidence that is in there subconsciously,” Aherne says.
“We had some tight games which we came through in the League which was good to see. Whether it had a bearing or not it is hard to tell, but it gives you confidence. Winning any game brings you confidence so to be able to carry that into this season going into the League and Championship.”
Following Dublin’s triumph in 2010, Cork claimed six titles on the spin, but what was the difference in 2017 for the capital team?
“I think from our own perspective we have always been pushing right up until the end of the season,” Aherne replies.
“For us it didn't come automatically or come immediately, but I think the fact we won last year brings no guarantee that it is going to happen for us this year. We just have to take each game as it comes, that is the approach we have to take on Sunday.”
The enduring rivalry between Cork and Dublin ensures there is significant debate surrounding the match.
“Yeah, I suppose from the outside there is probably that bit of familiarity you can point to, but I think you just take it one game at a time and that is very much how we have approached this season,” Aherne states.
“We are looking forward to the game, but I think each game has to be looked at on its own and from our perspective we are just looking at getting a performance on Sunday.”
Cork and Dublin have grown accustomed to the Croke Park stage with Aherne acknowledging that the extra fixtures played in the League at GAA headquarters were hugely beneficial.
“We were obviously lucky to be involved in a few double headers in the League,” Aherne remarks. “That was really a great step forward for girls to come in to get a little bit more experience. You want to be playing games on the big days. If anything it gives you a bit of experience ahead of next Sunday.”
The spring win over Cork, though, doesn’t count for too much according to Aherne. “I think it is totally different, the League is a different stage in your development in your season in terms of personnel and where you are at in terms of your game play,” Aherne states.
“It hasn't been something that has been massive in our thoughts in terms of preparing for Sunday. We are just focusing on Sunday.”