Lessons learned from inter-county woes

This year’s Ladies All-Ireland Senior football final was one of the most exciting in living memory. For six of DCU’s ladies footballers who featured in the Dublin squad, however, it was an afternoon to forget. Dublin and DCU footballer, Siobhan Woods, has tried to take some positives from their narrow defeat to Cork.

“We only have a couple of weeks off, so it’s nice to get back into it and not to be dwelling on the loss we had a few weeks ago. Moments like that obviously make you more driven to go on and win the next challenge put in front of you and for us, that’s college.

“Not even from the loss with Dublin, but with the loss last year in the O’Connor Cup semi-final, that’s motivation for us as well. We’re hoping to build on the success of last year.”

A promising championship campaign nonetheless, it seems that the only way forward is to continue the high standard of football that has been rife at both college and inter-county level.

“Having had that amount of games and having U-21 Championship as well and winning that, it was a really successful year if you take a step back and look at it. All the game time and big match occasions will definitely stand to us and the players playing for DCU this year.”

The growing standard of college GAA up and down the country has been well documented and many inter-county players feel there is little or no difference when you take into account intensity of the games or indeed the level of skill involved.

“Nearly all the girls who play for the DCU first team, play for their counties. So really it’s the exact same.

“The only real difference is the players coming from so many different county set ups. It really is exceptional when you consider it’s the same level of intensity in training for both counties and colleges set-ups.”

For Woods, however, there isn’t a lot of external pressure to perform because of the quality of inter-county players, but they do expect a certain standard from one another.

“We [the Dublin footballers] never feel any different to anyone else on the team. We know the girls from Monaghan who lost in the [All Ireland] final last year came back into the team as normal.

“There’s no extra pressure put on you. Obviously you put individual pressure on yourself to perform well for the team but it definitely wouldn’t be coming from anybody else.”

Certainly there hasn’t been an awful lot of pressure from the media, which is partly due to a lack of coverage in women’s sports, according to Woods.

“Honestly it is disappointing on a national or even international scale the level of coverage that women’s sport receives. They [female athletes] put in just as much effort as men, I suppose the only real difference is the lack of recognition for it.

“We’re not playing to get famous or anything like that, but I mean for younger girls growing up, there should be more games televised and certainly more coverage accessible.

“One game a year in Croke Park isn’t really good enough at all.”

Hoping to surpass last year’s semi-final exit in the O’Connor Cup, the DCU ladies team already look more experienced and focused. There’s certainly no lack of drive.

Cian Roche

Image Credit: Sportsfile

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