“It’s a really exciting time to be part of the team”- Keyes
ST JUDE’S ladies football captain Aoife Keyes has said reaching an All-Ireland final would serve as a massive boost to all those with a vested interest in the Tymon Park club.
An historic place in a national decider is the prize on offer at St Margaret’s GAA this coming Sunday (throw-in 1pm) when the Templeogue outfit face Carrickmacross of Monaghan in the last-four of the All-Ireland Junior Club Championship.
While their journey to this stage of the competition is testament to how much women’s football has developed in recent years, their exploits are capturing the attention of all those within St Jude’s.
“I think we’re the only team in the club that has ever gotten past a Leinster semi-final. It just gives it a bit of belief. Not just for us, but all the other teams, whether it’s male or female, whether it’s football, camogie or hurling,” Keyes remarked.
“It’s a great time to be a part of the club. Hopefully we get to go the full way. If we get to the final it will be amazing. If we get to win the whole thing it will be even better.”
Although they achieved their stated goal of a junior county title with an impressive final victory over Clontarf last October, Keyes and her Jude’s team-mates were not prepared to stop there.
After adding a Leinster junior crown to their list of accolades a little over a month ago, a convincing triumph over the UK-based Tir na nÓg in last Sunday week’s All-Ireland quarter-final at St Margaret’s maintained their quest for a clean sweep of silverware.
“I think the second we got out of Dublin, it kind of became a bit more of a reality that we could go the full way [in Leinster] and then obviously we did.
“I think it kind of just even spurred us on to say ‘why not go for it at this stage’.
“You don’t get too many opportunities to play in an All-Ireland semi-final or even the Leinster final.
“Not even just the players, but the management. We’ve all just had the attitude of ‘we’re going to give it our all’. It’s a really exciting time to be part of the team,” Keyes added.
There was some disappointment within St Jude’s last Sunday as their senior camogie side agonisingly lost out to Dicksboro of Kilkenny in a Leinster Senior Championship semi-final.
A sizeable contingent from this squad – including Dublin captain Hannah Hegarty – are also part of the football panel and experienced attacker Aoife Rockett is hopeful they can go one better this coming weekend.
“They’re back into football mode again now this week” said Rockett. “They’ll be looking to get a win now this weekend, the whole lot of us will. I suppose even more so now that they’re gone from the camogie.
“There’s a bit of nervous energy, for want of a better word. We’ve never actually gotten this far before. We’re in slightly unknown territory” she stressed.