Dublin midfielder Eimear McCarthy: We will get to All-Ireland final

There is a gap to be closed on the big two but the word from the Dubs camp is that they can do it

BY Stephen Doyle 21:40 Thursday 1 February 2018, 21:40 1 Feb 2018

Dublin camogie midfielder Eimear McCarthy with some young Blue fans at Parnell Park

"I do believe that we're going to get there, we will get there, it's not going to be an easy road to get there but we will do it."

Speaking to Dublin camogie star Eimear McCarthy this week about Dublin's chances of making their first All-Ireland final since 1986 was as refreshing as a January dip in the Forty Foot!

If there is a book of generic media answers for GAA players, the Blues midfielder well and truly ripped that one up.

Although, not getting too carried away, McCarthy admits that there is plenty for the panel to improve on, especially when you consider how they have started their Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League campaign.

"When we're ahead stay ahead!," McCarthy told OffTheBall.com's Stephen Doyle when asked what they learned from the opening draw with Limerick against whom they relinquished a six point lead. "From both sides, that the game can be changed and when you're on top you have to keep on top and don't let someone in and don't give someone that purple patch and definitely to drive on!"

"We took a point on board after that game, to take the two points and don't just leave it on the pitch. That was a hard lesson to learn, in terms of, to be so far ahead and to come back and go "what happened?". But we did learn a lot and we learned a lot about leadership and communication and stuff and we have gone through that after the game. That's definitely going to be something that we can drive on from for the next three league games and going into the championship."

To do that a team needs a ruthless streak, like the top two sides in the country, All-Ireland champions Cork and the team they defeated in the final, Kilkenny.

The latter showed Dublin how it is done in the second round of Division One Group Two league games as they hammered their hosts 3-17 to 3-5 at Parnells GAA club the Sunday before last.

"That's the thing and we learned that last weekend unfortunately. That's really something that they do. When you are ahead, don't just lay back and think, 'oh I'm grand, we're ahead', the more scores you can get on the board, the better. When you're beating someone, don't be afraid to beat them by an astronomical amount which is something we can really take from it. Hopefully we'll show that this weekend and the weekends after."

The most recent scoreline and the eight-point defeat to Kilkenny in last year's All-Ireland semi-final would suggest Dublin have a long way to go, to close the gap on the top two so is McCarthy confident it can be closed this year?

"Oh a hundred per cent. I think we showed that last year that we're not far off Kilkenny. It's the smaller margins that are probably harder to overcome and that's what we're doing now and what we're going through now. Things [we are doing] at training, we're really focusing on things we're going to take from that Kilkenny game. I think video analysis is great, to show us that, what the margins are and how to overcome those margins. I definitely do think, wait until August and we'll show it to you then."

Dublin manager and five-time All-Ireland winning former Kilkenny goalkeeper David Herity really seems to have instilled an unwavering belief within the players that they can get to an All-Ireland final.

"That was one thing that David and the backroom team and everyone really wanted to put in last year was the belief that you can, that we can make it there. If you're not going to back yourself, you're not going to make it. We do have that backing in ourselves. I do believe that we're going to get there, we will get there, it's not going to be an easy road to get there but we will do it.

"I think that's one thing that we really took from that [All-Ireland semi-final last year], the belief that we're actually not that far off that Kilkenny. There was one or two things that might be a bit controversial in that game that you could look back on and take them out of the game and what's left in the game? It definitely is a brilliant thing to be able to drive on the next year and to know that you can overcome these teams."

It is both rare and wonderful to hear a GAA player back themselves publicly, as McCarthy has, but is she worried that it could come back to bite them?

"No, because at the end of the day everyone's here to win. It is one game at a time but at the end of the day, every team sets goals and that is our goal."

Next up for the Girls in Blue is their clash with Meath this Sunday at 2pm in Trim.

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