O Leary demands support from all Dublin Fans


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Dublin star John O’Leary has called on the
county’s football supporters to pack Croke
Park on Sunday and shout their lungs out for
the women’s team. O’Leary says the Dublin
women footballers are as committed to their
craft and training as the men and deserve
as much support as they bid to win their first
All-Ireland senior title when they play Galway
on Sunday. In his first year as manager of
the ‘Jackies’, O’Leary says he has been disgusted
by the lack of support they get. “It’s a huge
disappointment,” he said. “And they’ve earned
support, it’s not that they ‘deserve it’,
they’ve gone out and earned it. “I can be
polite about it or not, but basically I’m
saying get off your backside and get to the
game if you are a Dublin fan,” he added. “If
you’re one of those people who say ‘I’m a
Dublin fan. Follow them to X, Y and Z matches,
go to Hill 16 blahblahblah’, well then you
should be there on Sunday. “This is about
Dublin football, whether they’re men or women
it doesn’t matter. This is a Dublin team in
an All-Ireland final wearing the Dublin jersey.
“I demand the same off them as I would off
a Dublin men’s team and it’s the same jersey.
This is about pride in the Dublin jersey as
a fan, so don’t let Dublin down.”
Goalkeeping legend John O’ Leary who manages
the Dublin Ladies Senior Team

his legendary playing career, O’Leary spent four
years as a Dublin senior selector, followed by
two as Wicklow manager. He took over as the Dublin
ladies manager this season, replacing Mick Bohan
who led them to their first senior final last
year. He admits he knew nothing about the women’s
game, but that it has greatly impressed him. “Are
they as committed? That question always amazes
me because they train Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
and that’s what most teams do,” O’Leary says.
“There’s only seven days in the week and you’re
training for three of them, so nothing’s really
changed there. “In men’s football, I suppose the
intensity has changed in recent years, especially
with weight training. We didn’t do anything like
that with this team because I felt most of the
work was needed around football, catching and
kicking, trying to get them to a place where the
ball is an extension of their body, a bit like
Kerry last weekend.”

Indeed, O’Leary insists that women are easier
to train than men. “Their commitment to training
is often better, there’s less hassles, less excuses,
less being down the pub on a Saturday night kind
of thing,” he quipped. He also likes the fact
that the game is, so far, less cynical and more
open than the men’s – a fact helped by the introduction
of a 10-minute sin-bin system for yellow cards
this season. But he has noted that one of the
by-products of that is that it is harder to put
a team away. “You can get ahead in a men’s game
and close a team down for the last 20 minutes,
but that doesn’t happen in the women’s game, it’s
much more open and never over until the final

Having been beaten heavily by Galway in the league
quarter-finals and watched their two games against
Mayo in the semi-final, Dublin are under no illusions
about how strong the Tribeswomen are. Indeed,
O’Leary believes the Connacht side have one big
advantage. “Everyone will say well Dublin were
here last year, but remember they lost that final,
whereas the last time Galway were in Croke Park
in 2002, they won the junior final. “Okay, it’s
their first senior final, but they’ve come to
Croke Park and won. They’ve been here and done
it, which we haven’t and we need to get that experience
on Sunday.”

His other worry is the noticeable balance throughout
PJ Fahy’s side. “They’ve no real superstars, no
Cora Staunton, Geraldine O’Shea, Kacey O’Driscoll.
They’ve good players at midfield, centre-forward
and corner-forward, but they’re not as one-dimensional
as Mayo or Kerry, so it’s not certain where the
danger might come from. It can come from all around
the field and that’s the biggest worry.”

article was kindly provided by Cliona Foley and
The Irish Independent



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