Sinead Goldrick is glad to be back
By John Harrington
Like every other footballer and hurler in the country, Sinead Goldrick discovered that absence made the heart grow fonder during lockdown.
So much so, that she had already her gear neatly prepared and ready to go last Tuesday for her first match of the season against Ballyboden St. Enda’s on the following Friday.
It wasn’t just the athletic thrill of pushing yourself to excel in sport that she missed. It was the bonds and friendships created through team-sport that left such a vacuum when they were taken away during lockdown.
“It was good to be back and even just chatting with all the girls, we were just like 'Thank God that's over!' because we were wrecked,” says Goldrick. “I know Natalia Hyland who used to play for Dublin is back from travelling, she was away or five or six years and she still has that kick on her that she had before.
“That was the first time I've seen her in five or six years. After the game we were just chatting and that's the part that you love about Gaelic too, those kind of bonds you create.
“I haven't spoken to her since she was away, a few Instagram DMs but nothing major so seeing her was just lovely.”
The sudden arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic was a more surreal experience for Goldrick than most.
She was in Australia playing for Melbourne in the AFLW when she and fellow Dublin footballer, Niamh McEvoy, were told it would be in their best interests to pack their bags and go home to Ireland as quickly as possible.
“We had a match set for that Sunday and I think we were meeting the girls but the club actually sent us home,” says Goldrick.
“We would have wanted to stay and play but they felt it was more important to get us home because I think they knew how serious everything was going to be.
“Melbourne was probably two weeks behind where Dublin was. Restaurants were open. So, yeah, I literally had to pack my bag in three or four hours and left a lot of stuff in Melbourne because it was such a rush.
“It was strange to be home and then you see the reality of everything and it sets in and I was glad to be back and grateful for the club to put us on the plane.”
Melbourne would like her to sign a new contract and return for the 2021 season, but, not surprisingly, it’s a decision she won’t be rushing into.
The city of Melbourne is currently on a second lockdown after a fresh outbreak of Covid-19 so health considerations are definitely one factor when you also factor in the potential risk of a long-haul flight.
When Goldrick says that “Dublin and Fox-Cab are my number one and Gaelic will always be number one for me anyway”, you get the feeling that she’s quite happy where she is.
But she hasn’t made a decision on it yet either way and won’t likely do so until the end of August.
“Yeah, I know a lot of people are like, 'Do you know?' And I don't because Covid is one thing, you don't know what's going to happen. Will the GAA season go ahead? And then also I don't know what the plans are for Dublin next year or anything like that.
“I'm not really too sure about my personal decision or what I'm going to do. Once I kind of have a chat I'm just going to directly chat to Dublin and my club team to see what the situation is and just have that open conversation.
“I think everyone's situation is different. I will be having that chat with Mick (Bohan) and everything like that pretty soon. But now it's just club season. I have until the August to make that decision. I'm thinking about it but I still don't really know what's happening.”
For now she’s more than content to be focusing solely on playing for her club, Foxrock-Cabinteely.
The opportunity to spend more time with her club-mates than she normally would in an average year is one she’s cherishing.
“Yeah, just to be back with club, we've never had the opportunity to be training full time with the club.
“We come back on a Monday (from playing with Dublin) and you have a championship game on the Wednesday. There's club girls that have been training for months and you're trying to come down to the club as much as you can but sometimes you don't have the opportunity.
“To have this long period of time with the club is such a novelty. In our club, there's five or six girls that used to be our water girls when we were in the senior All-Ireland campaign, then they got moved into training with us and now they're starters on the team.
“That's just something special. Being at the afters of peoples' weddings as these minors and stuff like that, to see them transition into proper contenders on our team, going head-to-head against players is just something that makes it all special with the club. You're literally cycling down 10 minutes to the club and I think everyone's on a great boost. We're just happy to be back playing.”
Fox-Cab’s success in bringing through talented young footballers year after year is in no small part thanks to the culture within the club of established players like Goldrick herself helping out with coaching the underage players.
“Yeah, sometimes you don't realise it: those young girls come to your game and they would think that you're a role model. I used to think that of Sinéad Aherne, do you know what I mean?
“I think it is important that you give back to the club all the time if you're asked to do something because you might not realise it but if you're training them once or that one conversation you have with them, that might make them continue to play football. With Covid, your local community does resonate more with you, how much Fox-Cab means to me anyway.”
Fox-Cab are nothing short of a sporting phenomenon.
Since their foundation in 2005 the Ladies Football club have gone from strength to strength. They now have over 500 playing members and are a real pillar of the sporting community in their area of south Dublin.
“When I was growing up, I would have had friends in my group that played but maybe they stopped playing or they moved to hockey,” says Goldrick.
“Hockey was probably the main sport but now, all around our schools, people are playing Gaelic. In St Bridget's, our (school) team was the first Gaelic football team and now there's loads of teams. When you can see that happening, you're just really proud.”