It’s been little over a week since Cork took their eighth Ladies’ All-Ireland football title in nine years. On the losing Monaghan team that day was Laura McEnaney, captain of last year’s DCU ladies’ football side. McEnaney felt that the one-point difference at full-time made the loss all the more galling.
“Well to be honest I was just absolutely devastated. To be so close but so far; one point. It was an absolute heartbreaker. We trained, not just this year, we trained the past couple of years for that one match. We wanted to win an Ulster title but that was only a minor step along the way. Our main goal was to win an All-Ireland final and we had to beat Cork to do that.
“I’m sure as a spectator it was a great game to watch. It was tit for tat the whole way, it’s like any All-Ireland you’d want to have. But for us to come out on the losing side, it really was heart-breaking, a one-point game, you’d nearly rather be beaten by 10 points.
“We were two points up with 10 minutes to go. It was looking very hopeful for us and Cork were hitting the post and luck seemed to be with us. But they are such a composed team and they probably just had the composure and the experience that drove them on in the last 10 minutes.”
However, the bitter defeat wasn’t enough to usher McEnaney away from the pitch for too long because three days later, she was back on the training field.
“We were out training last Wednesday. My manager said I could take a break if I wanted but I’m just so passionate about DCU football and I just wanted to get straight back into it so I went to training.”
The transition between the inter-county and college football season was seamless for the Monaghan player. In fact a break between the two competitions is non-existent in her case.
“I don’t normally get too many breaks. I don’t think I’ve had a full week off in two years, between coming from school football and into college and county; I literally haven’t had a week. So it’s hard going and tough to motivate yourself to get back into it but I love DCU, I’d die for DCU. I really can’t wait to get back into it again and I’m looking forward to the year ahead and we’re hopefully looking to be in with a good chance with these new players coming in. It’ll be a good year.”
McEnaney led the DCU side to the O’Connor Cup final earlier this year where she was greeted by defeat. The incentive to right the wrongs of that loss plus the close-knit squad that she is a fixture within will be big factors this year, she explained.
“We have about nine or 10 of us that would’ve stuck together over the past couple of years. We’re in the same class, a couple of us live together and we have a great spirit between us and I really think that’ll drive us on. We suffered the defeat [the O’Connor Cup final 2013] together so that will really help us drive on and maybe we can share our experience with the younger ones that are coming in and hopefully they can buy in to the situation.”
While the defeat to Cork will be hard to take, the wisdom gained from the occasion will stand to McEnaney as another season begins.
“It’s a massive experience to play in Croke Park in front of that many people. It is a great experience to have when you have to play big games with DCU so I definitely will carry that experience with me over the next few years with DCU.”