McGill: Revitalised 'Jackies' ready to set record straight

McGill: Revitalised ‘Jackies’ ready to set record straight

DUBLIN still have a chance of bagging a football All-Ireland this year but the man urging locals to come out and ‘Back the Jackies’ in next Sunday’s TG4 All-Ireland senior ladies final hails all the way from Donegal.

Gerry McGill (30) was a goalkeeper with his native county for three years, played Sigerson Cup for UCD for seven and played for Carlow for two seasons — where he still plays his club football with Eire Og.

And if teaching in Larkin College, in the quintessential inner-city area of Sean McDermott Street, for the last 10 years hadn’t already made him an honorary Dub, then leading their women’s footballers back to the All-Ireland final certainly should.

It’s the Jackies’ first decider since their agonising final losses of the 2003 and 2004 championships and they retain 10 of the ’04 team who lost to Galway.

Just like their male counterparts, Dublin suffered a heavy All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Tyrone last year but they’ve bounced back admirably.

Yet unlike Pat Gilroy’s men, Croke Park is so new to many of them that they were allowed into HQ on Monday night for a quick recce of the sacred ground to help them get their bearings.

Facing them are the mighty Rebelettes chasing a fifth All-Ireland title in succession.

Cork haven’t actually lost a final since they made the senior breakthrough in 2005 and are also looking for their fourth league/championship double.

The sides have already met twice this year during the National League with one win apiece so this is a big rematch, especially as Cork took Dublin’s previously unbeaten scalp in the league semi-final, beating them by a resounding 4-11 to 0-8 margin.

“Cork beat us out the gate in the end, we made a lot of mistakes, had a decent first 20 minutes and then they got a goal against the run of play and if you make mistakes against Cork they punish you like other teams won’t,” McGill said.

Dublin have beefed up their panel since, not least with the inclusion of dual star Lyndsey Peat, who missed the whole National League campaign because of her NBL basketball commitments.

In fact, Peat was so busy earlier this summer chasing European qualification with the Irish senior basketball team that, on one particularly hectic afternoon, she had to rush from one game to the other by helicopter!

Peat returned in time to join her experienced Parnells’ team-mates Avril Cluxton (Stephen’s sister) and Niamh McEvoy in the starting line-up that knocked out last year’s finalists Monaghan 2-14 to 1-15 in a thrilling semi-final.

Full-forward star Sinead Aherne scored 1-9 (0-7f) that day and the Jackies are captained by midfielder Denise Masterson, who was new to the panel when they lost their last final.

Masterson was also a very talented basketballer who only took up Gaelic football when she was 23 because: “I went looking for something to play in the summer!

“There were a lot of changes in personnel after 2004 so it was a case of new blood and new management and I think it takes a while to settle after that happens,” she explained of their renaissance.

Now she has the dream job of captaining Dublin in an All-Ireland final and believes that the way they beat Monaghan will stand to them now.

“We’d take a lot of faith from our semi-final, we were eight points down and clawed that back,” Masterson said.

“I think it’s the extra bit of character you need if it doesn’t go to plan in the first 10 minutes, that you’ll just keep at it.

“It’s nice to know we beat Cork already this season but then they beat us convincingly afterwards.

“An All-Ireland final is a very different day anyway so I wouldn’t be placing much on either of our earlier meetings.”

– Cliona Foley

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