Masterson: we must finish the job this time

DUBLIN captain Denise Masterson believes the county’s two All-Ireland final defeats earlier this decade will have little bearing on their latest attempt to claim their first title on Sunday.

Twelve of the current Dublin panel featured in one or both of the 2003 and 2004 deciders when the Leinster side was stopped at the final hurdle by Mayo and then Galway. Most of them will start this weekend against Cork.

“Obviously for the girls that were involved in 2003 and 2004 they know that it’s an opportunity that has to be seized,” said Masterson who was a late arrival onto the panel’s fringes in 2004.

“It’s a different team and a totally different set-up. There’s been a lot of changes so I don’t know how it can impact but obviously they’ll know what it’s like to be on the losing side and they’ll not want to be there again.”

Back then, it seemed like it was merely a question of time before Dublin would break their duck in the Brendan Martin Cup but five years on, they are still chasing that elusive prize.

“That’s it and that’s one of the things those girls would be saying to the rest of us is that these opportunities don’t come around every year so we have to make sure to make the best of it.

“There were a lot of changes in personnel after that year. A lot of people retired and so it was kind of new blood coming through, a new management team and I think it takes a while to settle after that happens.”

Cork, chasing a fifth straight title, are a daunting opponent but Dublin do at least have the boon of having beaten them at the start of the league campaign back in early March of this year.

That result’s worth was diluted somewhat by a thumping 15-point defeat to the Munster side in the league semi-final two months later in Semple Stadium although Dublin were right in it for almost 40 minutes that afternoon.

A good start will be paramount if the underdogs are to harbour hopes of an upset but they have shown in the semi-final that they are also capable of rescuing lost causes should the arise.

“We’ll take a lot of positives from the Monaghan game. We were eight points down and we fought back so I think it’s an extra bit of character that you need to have if it doesn’t go according to plan in the first 10 minutes.”

Cork’s talents are unquestionable but they can only have been aided this last few years by the failure of any one side to emerge as their undisputed contender.

Galway, Armagh, Mayo and Monaghan have all been seen off on All-Ireland final day since 2005 and opponents’ unfamiliarity with Croke Park and the pageantry and nerves of the big occasion could be a small but significant factor.

The Dublin players were afforded the opportunity to walk around the playing surface last Monday evening but how they approach the day itself will be crucial. Do they embrace it or blot it out?

“We are trying to approach this game the same way we’ve approached every other game,” said Masterson who only came to the game as a 23-year old looking to fill the months of basketball’s off-season.

“There’s a lot more stuff going on in the background with the All-Ireland final but I think in general we’re just trying to approach it the same way we have any other game.”

It remains to be seen how many locals will turn up to cheer on the ‘Jackies’ but county chairman Gerry Harrington is urging the county to row in behind their team at the weekend.

“I would urge all Dublin people to ramble in to Croke Park to support their team this Sunday,” said the Cork native. “This is a chance for the county win an All-Ireland title. Let’s make it an occasion.”


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