Meath players celebrate after their side's victory in the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship Final match between Dublin and Meath at Croke Park in Dublin.
Meath players celebrate after their side's victory in the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship Final match between Dublin and Meath at Croke Park in Dublin.

Murray lauds Meath's special history makers


By John Harrington

Not many people were giving his team a chance of beating a five-in-a-row seeking Dublin in Sunday’s TG4 All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Final, but Meath manager Eamonn Murray was in no doubt they would win the game.

His players clearly shared that confidence because they were the better team from start to finish as they created history by winning their county’s first ever senior ladies All-Ireland at the very first attempt.

“I never questioned that they wouldn’t win,” said Murray after the match. “Not for one minute. We knew this year we’d win every game. We didn’t worry about All-Irelands; didn’t think about them.

“The league final against Kerry, we approached that the same as today’s game. They showed no sign of panic at any stage.

“We probably beat them at their own game a wee bit. These girls came on a lot with their physical strength. We needed all of that strength we had to beat them.

“They’re a class outfit. An unbelievable team. To be the best you have to beat the best. We certainly did that. I thought we were by far the best team.”

They certainly were. Not only did they play with great heart, they were superbly organised too.

Meath manager Eamonn Murray before the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship Final match between Dublin and Meath at Croke Park in Dublin. 
Meath manager Eamonn Murray before the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship Final match between Dublin and Meath at Croke Park in Dublin. 

The manner in which they were able to get bodies back to choke the Dublin attack, force turn-overs, and then counter-attack at pace was a tactical master-class.

“We were working on that a few years,” said Murray. “It’s really coming together now. It’s very hard to score against us. I thought on our break we moved the ball very well.

“Never showed any sign of panic. Monica’s brilliant save. Of course we had a bit of luck, sure any team that wins gets luck. The lobbed goal, another bit of luck. We had a bit of luck all year.

“But it’s not all luck when you beat all these top teams. They’re a very special bunch of players. I wouldn’t expect anything different off them.

“We had plenty of tough days too. This is as high as it goes. Where do we go from here? I don’t know.”

Well, as it turns out, Murray did have a bit of an idea about the possibilities that now open up for Meath Ladies Football.

He knows the potential in the county better than anyone else having worked with underage teams for so many years, and he sees no reason why they can’t now challenge Dublin’s dominance of the game in Leinster and beyond in the long term.

“I hope so,” he said. “We need to forget about the bad days from now on and let’s worry about the future. I’m hearing all week about these bad times we had, those bad days are gone thank God.

“Let’s move on and start enjoying football, it’s nothing more than Meath deserve - we’re a very proud, big county, 7500 members is huge, there are very few other counties with that many members.

“This is great for all them young kids that look to these brilliant players, they have heroes after today.

“And these are all heroes, and will be heroes for life, if they never kick another ball it doesn’t matter, they’ll never be forgotten. Never. They are going down in history now, thank God.”