What a difference a year makes.
ast season Thomas Davis faced a championship relegation struggle. Tonight they are in their first-ever Go-Ahead Dublin Ladies’ Football Senior Championship final.
They’ll play Kilmacud Crokes at Parnell Park (7.30). There won’t be a soul left in the Little Village.
The journey began with a meeting. “We all sat down at the beginning of the year,” reveals the Thomas Davis vice-captain, Olwen Carey.
“We reflected on the previous year and set goals of where we wanted to be as a team for this season. We said to ourselves that we did not perform to our best in the championship last year.
“But, at the same time, we didn’t want to be focusing too much on the negative. We just wanted to make sure that we enjoyed going out and playing football. Last year, we didn’t play well and, consequently, we didn’t enjoy it.
“We wanted to be happy with ourselves at the end of the day, and thankfully, that’s paying off. We’re going into a final. All the girls have put in so much work.”
The Kiltipper Road side underlined their resolve in their semi-final victory over Na Fianna at DCU last week. The Glasnevin club lost last year’s Dublin final by a goal to Foxrock Cabinteely, who won the Michael Murphy Memorial Cup for the seventh year in a row.
“We knew we had to perform well. We expected it to be a close game. Neither Fianna were ahead at half-time. We realized we had to push on in the second half. They pushed us right to the last second of the game, but thankfully we were able to hold out.”
Crokes will also ask some hard questions. “They have been setting the standard this year. They have been getting some high scores.”
Against Na Fianna, the Thomas Davis captain, Siobhán McGrath, gave a remarkable performance. “She was flying. She has a wonderful attitude. She gives it everything,” says Olwen, who played with her for Dublin.
Olwen took a break from the county team to focus on her studies. She enjoyed being a fan of the Dubs. But still feels the pang of defeat.
Yet the focus now is very much on the Tallaght club, who are enjoying exciting times as their men’s team are also in the Dublin Senior Football Championship semi-final. Against Kilmacud Crokes!
“Hopefully, we can both come out on the right side,” smiles Olwen.
Olwen commends the efforts of the club in recent years. “A lot of work has been put in by a number of people. They’ve really focused on the underage structure, especially on the women’s side. Trying to attract more and more players. There’s now more teams than we’ve had before.
“I definitely think over the last 10 years, you can see there are a lot more young girls playing football, which is great to see. I was at the All-Ireland final this year. Meath and Kerry had great support. It’s happening all over the country as well.”
Ten years ago, Thomas Davis had one of his best days of all – winning the All-Ireland Junior Ladies’ Football Championship title.
“Some of the girls are still playing. Days like that don’t come around too often. That’s what we have been saying to the younger ones this week – to enjoy the build-up. It’s a great honor to be representing Thomas Davis in the Dublin senior final for the first time.”