Galway take hard road to the top

take hard road to the top
By Cliona Foley of The Irish Independent



THEY may be the All-Ireland senior ladies football champions but
Galway’s women only got access to the county training centre in
Loughgeorge four times this season, all in the past fortnight.

On the eve of their historic title defence, Galway captain and
full-back ace Aoibheann Daly has revealed that the best women’s
team in the country actually had to cancel training a few times
this year because they couldn’t get a pitch to train on. “It is
a bit disappointing,” she said. “When we won the All-Ireland we
thought it might get easier but it sometimes felt even harder
to get somewhere to train, especially to get a pitch with floodlights
on it.”

They don’t get travelling expenses or sponsored boots or cars
or any of the perks that now accompany Gaelic’s top men. Yet none
of that will matter when they take on first-time finalists Cork
in Sunday’s decider at Croke Park, a re-match of this year’s Division
One league final when the Munster side scored 2-13 and held Galway
to just six points.

Daly (21), from Kilconly, who plays her football with Milltown
and works as a physiotherapist in Galway Regional, says the league
result is irrelevant. “Everyone knew this Cork team was coming,
they had loads of underage success and beat us well the last day,”
said Daly. “But we were missing players that day and we’ve done
an awful lot of work in five months since then.”

Like many of her colleagues, Daly is amazed at how quickly Galway
have risen through the ranks, from reaching their first junior
final in 2000 to winning the senior at their first attempt last
year. “Galway men’s success of 1998 was a big factor,” she said.
“Football just took off in the county at that stage, especially
when they won again in 2001. Every little kid in Galway, from
primary schools up, just wanted to be playing football.”

Having experienced All-Ireland day, the Tribeswomen have an advantage
over Cork and, in last year’s final, they demonstrated their resolve
after falling six points behind Dublin in the first 25 minutes.
“Things didn’t look great for us at half-time last year,” Daly
admitted. “But actually, it was great to go in at the break because
we knew that we hadn’t even started playing football at that stage
and had to get it together. “We got a really quick goal soon after
the restart and coming from behind to win it made it even more
special,” admitted Daly.

This time she’s hoping to take a more straightforward route to
lifting the Brendan Martin Cup. However, Daly knows Cork’s success-hungry,
talented young side will throw everything at them. “They never
stop running and they never give up either, as we saw when they
pipped Mayo in the semi-finals so we have to be ready for that.”

article was kindly provided by Cliona Foley and The Irish Independent

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