FOOTBALL – “Every time we go out and play and get further, we’re making history for Meath Ladies football” Monica McGuirk
By DARAGH SMALL (Meath goalkeeper Monica McGuirk during the TG4 Leinster LGFA Senior Championship Captain’s Evening 2022 at Johnstown Estate Hotel in Meath. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile)
Meath All-Star Monica McGuirk believes the new Leinster rivalry in Ladies football resembles the great battles between their male counterparts from over the years.
Meath will meet Dublin in Saturday’s TG4 Leinster Senior Final at Croke Park in the latest episode.
The Royals’ stunning victory over Dublin in last September’s All-Ireland final was the first, before the Sky Blues won their league clash and Meath turned the tables earlier in the provincial campaign.
And the 31-year-old Duleek/Bellewstown goalkeeper knows these teams will get to know each other even more over the years to come.
“I would have went to a few Meath and Dublin games up in Croke Park over the years. It was always a great day and any day Dublin play Meath men or women it’s always going to be a great day out in terms of the rivalry that’s there,” said McGuirk.
“Neither team wants to lose against the neighbours. It’s brilliant to see, it’s great for football. It’s just great to have that back. And it’s great that Meath and Dublin rivalry is back.
“It hasn’t been there in Ladies football in a long, long time. Years back we would have been playing senior and playing Dublin. But I don’t think the rivalry was there as much as it is now this year.
“It’s great to be playing the top teams in the country like Dublin. We are playing them week in week out which is great. It keeps us on our toes as well. It’s where you want to be playing with the best of the best.”
Meath followed up their All-Ireland triumph with a brilliant National Football League Division 1 success. And McGuirk says they are hungry for more silverware as the year moves on.
“There was no pressure on us last year we were just taking each game as it came,” said McGuirk.
“Our intention last year wasn’t to go on and win an All-Ireland, it was just to go on and compete for every game and stay up in senior. Then obviously we got to the quarter-finals and then semi-finals and then before we knew it we were in a final.
“It was just one game at a time and we have the same mentality going in this year. At the start of this year, a lot of people didn’t realise that was our first time in Division 1 football in a long time.
“So the motivation to stay up in Division 1 was obviously a main goal of ours at the start of the season. And as we pushed on and got to the semi-final and final we wanted to go on and win it, which we did thankfully.
“Now there is a different type of view on it. We want to maintain our status, that we are able to stay up here and compete with the best of the best and show people that we weren’t a one-hit wonder which is key for us. That is a big motivation.
“You don’t want people thinking that it was a one-time thing winning an All-Ireland. You want to be fighting again for an All-Ireland.
“Every time we go out and play and get further, we’re making history for Meath Ladies football. We are on this whirlwind in the last two years, you don’t want it to stop.”