Dublin Ladies determined to continue winning with style
By John Harrington
Dublin Ladies Football team manager Mick Bohan had already decided by the Monday after their 2018 All-Ireland Final victory over Cork that he wanted to remain in the position for the 2019 season.
The prospect of winning a historic three-in-a-row All-Ireland titles wasn’t his chief motivating factor.
When he took charge of the team for a second stint ahead of the 2017 season he made it clear his priority was to raise standards and make Ladies Gaelic Football more attractive as a spectacle.
His players have done that and success has followed, and for Bohan the priority remains the process rather than the outcome.
“It's all fine talking about this as a coach, but the way we play means an awful lot to me,” he told GAA.ie
“Obviously you go out and you want to be successful, but I would sacrifice success to a degree rather than become a team that plays stale or negative football.
“To some degree I see the flair has gone out of the Dublin men's team. They're too controlled, it's too systematic. That's not a cut, I'm not having a go at them, but because of my ethos of coaching I don't want to see that creep in even.
“I actually think particularly where the women's game is at where they're trying to get more people going to the matches then you have to earn it.
“No-one is going to watch them just because they're girls. If it becomes a spectacle people will support it. And I think at the moment, certainly the two All-Ireland Finals of the last two years were great spectacles.
“Now, there's a lot of games where I go out and say the standard out there was appalling.
“But that's the challenge, to bring that consistency into it where people say, 'You know what, lets go down the road because the Dublin women are playing today'. I'd have a lot of pride in that.”
Bohan has clearly had a transformative effect on a panel that lost three All-Irelands in a row from 2014 to 2016, but he believes the players themselves deserve the bulk of the credit for what they’ve since achieved by winning back to back All-Irelands.
“We didn't have to come in saying it, they knew they weren't doing something right. It's fine saying Cork were at a certain level, but what were they not doing right. They were willing to address that and they did.
“It wasn't a matter of trying to convince them in any way, they knew there were inadequacies in the game which is what we went after.
“We're particularly lucky with that group. Some of the leaders that we have, you don't always get it.
“People like Sinead Aherne, Sinead Goldrick, Sinead Finnegan, Noelle Healy, they're exceptional people.
“You could put them into any set-up and they'd do the exact same job. Their influence, standards, culture, capacity to learn skill-sets and share knowledge, that makes our job so much easier. It's not one voice in that dressing-room.”