By Aaron Dunne
DUBLIN captain Sinead Aherne has hailed the influence of former Irish rugby star Hannah Tyrrell on the senior ladies football squad this season as the Na Fianna
sharpshooter led the team’s run to the Lidl Ladies Football League Division 1 final.
The Jackies take on Cork in Saturday’s decider – in which Dublin will be aiming to win just their second ever title in just their third ever final. And Aherne has lauded Tyreel’s impact on the squad. Tyrrell, who played at out-half for Ireland for the last number of years, has been in scintilating form and has played a key role.
Her superb displays in the Dublin attack has amassed a tally of 3-22 so far, and has also emerged as a strong free-taker for Mick Bohan’s side.
Tyrrell was involved in the panel briefly in 2014 but is certainly becoming a more prominent figure in the camp this season.
“It’s been a good few years since she’s been back,” Dublin captain Aherne said. “She’s had a really successful journey with the international rugby team so she brings so much experience from that set-up. She’s a great athlete and has been going really well.
“She came in a few weeks after we went back. At that stage, she was deciding on the rugby side of her career. Obviously, she had a decision to make in terms of stepping away from that. But I think she enjoyed her time when she came into the set-up and decided at this stage of her life that it was something she wanted to give a bit of time to so it worked well for us.
“She’s a great asset to us. She’s getting used to the players around her as well and there’s been a lot of players moving around in the team. It’s just been a familiarisation process but she’s certainly jumped into it with both feet anyway.”
“Going back to 2014 is hard to remember but I know Hannah put in a good stint as a goalkeeper in her earlier years as well and you can probably put her anywhere on the pitch. Certainly from the rugby set-up, her athleticism and strength has really improved.
“You can really see all the attributes from that training environment has brought her on as a Gaelic football player. And she was playing with Na Fianna in the club championship last year so I know my own club [St Sylvester’s] had a tough game against her last year.
Dublin – who will go insearch of a fourth All-Ireland title in a row later this summer – will line out at Croke Park where 4,000 fans will be in attendance, with a number of tickets still available on general sale.
The sides have already met in the group stages of the league, with Dublin prevailing by just one point at the end of a thrilling encounter.
Tyrrell pocketed 2-7 in that clash at Páirc Uí Chaoimh last month and her performance certainly caught the eye of Cork goalkeeper, and captain, Martin O’Brien and her performances saw her earn the Player of the Month award for May.
PHOTO – SPORTSFILE