‘Phenomenal’ Aherne to captain ‘hunted and chased’ Dublin again in Drive for Five

DUBLIN STAR CARLA Rowe needs just one word to sum up her captain Sinéad Aherne: phenomenal.

It was confirmed last night that four-in-a-row All-Ireland winning skipper Aherne will lead the Sky Blues once again this season, with defensive ace Niamh Collins named vice-captain.

St Sylverster’s stalwart Aherne made her inter-county debut in 2003, and etched her name into history last December by becoming the first-ever captain to lift four successive All-Ireland crowns.

She has five Celtic Crosses to her name — the other coming in 2010 — along with seven All-Stars, the 2018 Player of the Year award and a remarkable 13 Leinster senior titles.

Her 2020 season was hampered by injury, though she still played a huge part for Mick Bohan’s side and chipped in with 1-14 in four championship appearances.

“I could sum her up in one word, phenomenal,” Rowe said at the 2021 Lidl Ladies National Football League Launch today.

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“She’s just a leader as a person and a player. She’d be a quiet type of person and she brings that into her leadership role. When she speaks, everyone knows to listen and that it’s serious business.

Sinead Aherne to Captain @dublinladiesg for the 5th year in a row while Niamh Collins is announced as Dub’s Vice-captain #COYGIB

Read more by clicking link below;https://t.co/i6niSywUs3 pic.twitter.com/Qc7rS7bEnQ

— DublinLGFA (@dublinladiesg) May 17, 2021

“She goes about her business brilliantly and she’s lead us fantastically not just in her years as captain but in all her years with Dublin. She’s always been a leader and someone we look up to.”

Aherne certainly epitomises the group that have sat on ladies football’s pedestal over the past few championship seasons, though each year brings a clean slate.

That’s something Bohan and his players always say; the Brendan Martin Cup is back in the LGFA offices, everyone starts from scratch again, with Cork, Donegal, Armagh, Galway and Mayo among the teams always in contention.

Talk of five-in-a-row is outside the camp, they’re focused on themselves within — and getting even better.

“Every year you need to improve,” Rowe assures. “Mick will always say we’re the ones being chased. For three years in-a-row we were chasing Cork, and this year we’re the ones being hunted and being chased.

“If you’re not improving and not developing much greater than everyone else is, then you’re in trouble. We still think as a group we haven’t hit the best performance that we know we’re capable of.

Rowe at the 2021 Lidl Ladies National Football League launch.

“There’s been highlights of it here and there, maybe 20 minutes in different matches, but we haven’t had that one complete performance. We’re striving obviously to improve and reach those goals.”

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That starts this weekend, as a “very different” league campaign opens against Waterford.

The games will come thick and fast, with battles against the Rebels and Tipperary to come in the following weeks in Division 1B.

“Dublin have only ever won one league in our history so it’s not something that we go into lightly,” the 2020 Player of the Year nominee concluded, expecting a “fast-paced” game against the Déise at Parnell Park on Sunday.

“It’s something you have to use to your advantage to try different things and use different panel members to try new positions.

“It’s definitely something we go out with a goal to win and achieve so we’re looking forward to hitting the ground running and being very competitive in it. With the short three or four weeks we had to lead in, you never know what way these things are going to go so we’ll be trying to learn as much as we can as fast as we can every week.”

  • ‘As a player, she’s exceptional, but she’s an even better person and team-mate’ – saluting a retiring Dublin star

– Lidl and the LGFA today confirmed live-streaming of 50 league games. Read more here.

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