HomeFootballJackies will be hoping lightning doesn’t strike twice when they face Galway...

Jackies will be hoping lightning doesn’t strike twice when they face Galway in their All-Ireland SFC quarter-final

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Clontarf had reached the Dublin Ladies’ Football Intermediate Championship final.

They had lost the final in the three previous years. To Parnell’s (2015), Clanna Gael Fontenoy (2016) and St Maur’s (2017).

They had also been runners-up in the Dublin Intermediate Championship finals of 2006 (Naomh Mearnóg/St Sylvester’s) and 2011 (Round Tower Clondalkin).

But in 2018, the ship reached harbour following their success against Cuala.

Mick Cronin was on the bridge. Clontarf then won Leinster and reached the All-Ireland final.

It was played in the bleak mid-winter at Parnell Park in the lashing rain.

It was the night Siobhán Killeen wrote the ‘Famous Five’, rattling the Emmet Óg, Monaghan net on five occasions. Caoimhe O’Connor was also among the goals.

Clontarf became the first Dublin club to win the All-Ireland Intermediate Championship.

The following year, Caoimhe was selected for the Dublin squad. And ended the season with another All-Ireland medal as Dublin lifted the Brendan Martin Cup.

They beat Galway in the final. And the Dubs will meet Galway again this Saturday (July 6) in the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship quarter-final, hoping to avoid the fate that fell their male counterparts against the same opposition at the same stage.

It’s on at Parnell Park (7.30). It’s live on the box. And it gets top billing of the three televised Saturday quarter-finals.

It’s Cork v Waterford at Páirc Uí Chaoimh (1.15), Kerry against Meath in Tralee (5.15), and then Sunday’s Armagh v Mayo clash at the Athletic Grounds (5.45), which is also live on TG4.

Dublin and Galway have already met in Donnycarney. Last February in Division 1 of the Lidl National League.

Dublin won by a point. Galway were later relegated. A surprise, to say the least. They looked more than a capable side that Sunday afternoon.

They subsequently secured the Connacht title. Daniel Moynihan is the manager. He guided Galway to last year’s All-Ireland minor crown.

In this summer’s Connacht final, Galway beat Liam McHale’s Mayo. The Dubs overcame Mayo in their opening All-Ireland group fixture at Parnell Park.

Like Galway, Mayo are a fine team, fit and well-organised.

Dublin followed up that victory by impressively defeating Kildare at the sun-blessed Kildare Centre of Excellence.

After collecting the Leinster title in May, Dublin have maintained their bright form as they prepare for their last-eight clash.

“Yes, we are happy with the campaign. Things have been going well,” notes Caoimhe O’Connor.

“We are enjoying our football. It’s the old story – one game at a time.

“There are so many good teams out there. All the sides have shown impressive form. Everyone is striving to get to the top. All we can do is to focus on ourselves.

“We work hard at training every week. We have a squad of wonderful footballers.

“It’s a competitive environment. And even getting onto the team is an achievement in itself.

“We are at the knock-out stage now. And we’ll try to continue the way in which we have been going.

“We were pleased with the display in Kildare. Our aim going into that game was to build on our performance from the Mayo match and finish the Group with a good result.”

Even in the blistering sunshine of Newbridge, Caoimhe, and the Dubs, brought such energy to the hour.

She never spares the batteries. Always there, on the shoulder of a colleague, providing an option.

Named on the half-forward line, she often drops deep to defend.

Much of her work is unseen, her clever positional sense linking the play, making life easier for those around her.

She can also pop over the points and rustle the onion sack.

There is nobody more proud of her than her dad, Willy, the Dublin ladies kitman.

“It’s just lovely to share this journey with her,” Willy states.

Dublin’s road has seen many highways and byways. Three All-Ireland final defeats in succession. The four-in-a-row. Then All-Ireland final and quarter-final losses before finding gold again last August against the odds.

Galway will ask a few questions. They have some polished performers.

Among them, their Kilkerrin-Clonberne All-Ireland-winning contingent.

They beat Kilmacud Crokes in the All-Ireland semi-final at Parnell Park last December.

It went to extra time. Two points in it. It was a thriller. Shane Walsh was in the audience.

The thousands watching on the telly will be hoping for more such drama.

There’s sure to be a large audience at the Dublin HQ. “We have been getting terrific support,” acknowledges Caoimhe. “And it means a lot to us.

“It’s brilliant to see all the girls and boys coming to our games with their families.

“When you are out there on the pitch, you can hear the crowd’s encouragement. It lifts us all.”

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