Dublin’s TG4 All-Ireland final player of the match Noelle Healy has challenged her team-mates to retain their title in 2018.
Healy, 26, claimed her second senior medal on Sunday, when the Sky Blues roared to a 12-point victory over Mayo at Croke Park.
Healy came on as a sub in the 2010 victory over Tyrone but is now an established member of the starting line-up — and the St Brigid’s player provided assists for two goals during the course of a barnstorming display. She didn’t get on the scoresheet but Healy’s selfless performance was recognised with the prestigious individual award on Dublin’s big day.
And she now wants the newly-crowned champions to prove they can finish on top of the pile again next September.
Speaking at Temple Street Hospital in the capital yesterday, as the Dublin and Mayo squads paid a visit there, two-time All-Star Healy reflected: “We said we were so resilient in coming back after all the losses, we need to show now that we can do it after a win.
“In 2010, I was only just out of minor, Niamh McEvoy was the same, Fiona Hudson, Sinéad Goldrick, we had a lot of success underage and we expected it just to happen for us when we got up to senior. I don’t think any of us thought it would be seven years before we got back here again.
“Obviously, we were around at the same time as a fantastic Cork team, we had brilliant battles with them and I’m sure they’ve had the same success underage as well but hopefully, we’ll be able to push on.”
Healy says that manager Mick Bohan will remain on board to plot Dublin’s title defence — and with a healthy age profile in the squad, the Jackies will start as favourites next year.
And Healy described the feeling of elation at full-time, revealing: “It’s fantastic, it’s funny, we kind of said we’d have no tears yesterday but once the final whistle went, we were all crying anyway again! It just felt unbelievable. It was really special, being with our families, but today is great, seeing each other in the cold light of day, and giving each other a nod and knowing that we finally did it.
“We always knew we had a special group and we’ve been on such a long journey, particularly the last three years.
“Mick said that as special as it is, you need that win to cement it and fully pin it down. We’ll know now forever that we’ll always be All-Ireland champions together.
“While people will drop off (the squad), we’ll always have done this, which is special.”
Healy added: “I probably didn’t appreciate 2010 at the time, and there was a group of girls there who had probably been on a similar journey to us, they’d lost in 2003, 2004, and 2009 as well.
“To finally get over the line for them was really special and it was brilliant to be a part of it but we’re so close with a lot of the girls here, it’s really, really special.
“The girls I’ve mentioned, Sinead, Niamh, Fiona, and Sinéad O’Mahony, we’ve been playing together since we were 13, so it’s really special.”
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