Ladies football: Meath stars hail consistency of Mourneabbey

Dunboyne were brushed aside by the Cork LGFA champions in the All-Ireland semi-final recently
Ladies football: Meath stars hail consistency of Mourneabbey

Ciara O'Sullivan, Mourneabbey, in the win over St Peter's Dunboyne. Picture: Larry Cummins

ALL-IRELAND winning Meath and Dunboyne players, Vikki Wall and Emma Duggan, praised a Mourneabbey team chasing a third national club title in a row.

It was a bad day at the office in Mourbeabbey and something Dunboyne’s star players couldn’t deny. A chastening, 6-17 to 0-5 semi-final defeat to the three-in-a-row chasing All-Ireland senior champions was not the way Meath inter-county players Vikki Wall or Emma Duggan wanted their club season to end.

Both players were magnanimous in defeat, but the disappointment of not performing, or, rather, not being allowed to perform by a relentless Mourneabbey is likely to sting for some time.

The Leinster champions have made great strides over the past seven years, culminating in victory over Dublin’s Foxrock-Cabinteely in the 2021 Leinster senior club decider. Yet, Mourneabbey’s comprehensive All-Ireland semi-final victory underlined how far the Meath side still has to go if a national senior title is to be attained.

Both Wall and Duggan praised Mourneabbey for their semi-final victory and believe their young panel will return to the business end of the All-Ireland LGFA club championship sooner rather than later. 

DISAPPOINTMENT

“Disappointment is the key word,” Meath and Dunboyne’s Vikki Wall told The Echo. “We were under no illusions coming down to play Mourneabbey. You can say that we didn’t perform to our standards, but you cannot take anything away from Mourneabbey, as the better side won.

“It is a loss, at the end of the day, and not easy to take, but our future is bright. We have a very young team and a few of them came in as substitutes in the last few minutes of an All-Ireland semi-final. Maybe they are used to coming on when we are winning or seeing out games. It was the complete opposite against Mourneabbey.

“I am proud of every single one of the girls who put on a Dunboyne jersey. Win, lose, or draw, there is a bright future ahead of them.” 

Emma Duggan was one of the few Dunboyne players to trouble Mourneabbey’s excellent defence during their semi-final defeat. Duggan’s frustrations were encapsulated by twice hitting the crossbar in the closing stages. Despite the heavy loss, Duggan believes Dunboyne’s players will learn a lot from playing the reigning All-Ireland club champions.

“Hitting the crossbar twice summed up our day,” Duggan admitted. “It just didn’t happen for us on the day. I’m still really proud of the girls and the journey that we have been on. Dunboyne started off as a junior team seven years ago and are now competing with the best team in the country, without a shadow of a doubt, in Mourneabbey.

“I think Mourneabbey showed just how good they are in our semi-final. You cannot take anything away from them. They taught us a few tough lessons out there, but we will learn from them and be back again next year.” 

 Eimear Harrington, Mourneabbey, tries to shake off a St Peter's Dunboyne challenge. Picture: Larry Cummins
Eimear Harrington, Mourneabbey, tries to shake off a St Peter's Dunboyne challenge. Picture: Larry Cummins

Now that Dunboyne’s club championship campaign is over, Vikki Wall and Emma Duggan must turn their attention towards defending Meath’s All-Ireland LGFA senior trophy. An upcoming National League rematch with Cork, the team they fought back from seven points down to defeat in last year’s epic All-Ireland semi-final, should be an occasion to savour. 

"We are very much looking forward to getting straight back into it with Meath,” Emma Duggan said.

There is a big hunger within our group to defend that title. We want to prove that we were not a one-season wonder. 

"We want to move on and retain our title. That’s going to be a big challenge for Meath. It is a different challenge, as we will not be under the radar or underdogs this season... hopefully, there is another successful season to come. 

"We will have one or two days to come down from the disappointment of our defeat to Mourneabbey but it will be straight back to inter-county training then,” Vikki Wall added.

“It has been really nice to go on this long journey with our club, Dunboyne. Not everyone gets to experience what we have over the last number of years. Shane Ronayne’s Cork seniors begin their campaign away to Meath on February 13, before facing Dublin (February 20) and Waterford (March 6).

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