THE DIFFERENCE TWO years makes.
On the double: Dublin star Carla Rowe.
Source: Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE
Carla Rowe grabbed the majority of the headlines after Dublin’s immense All-Ireland senior final win on Sunday as they beat the old enemy Cork and made it back-to-back titles for the first time in the county’s history. For all the right reasons this time.
The Clann Mhuire forward rattled the net twice at crucial, crucial times in a Player of the Match-winning performance as the Sky Blues ran out 3-11 to 1-12 champions.
In doing so, they exacted sweet revenge on the Rebels following narrow decider defeats in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Perhaps, the most heartbreaking of the three was in 2016. Well, most definitely for 24-year old Rowe.
She saw a first-half point incorrectly waved wide by the Hill 16 end umpires. The final score was 1-7 to 1-6. Understandably, at full-time Dublin were left understandably aggrieved as they hit out at the action of Hawk-Eye.
Looking back two years ago, what a difference.
“It’s amazing for all of us to be able to stand here today,” Rowe beamed in the post-match press conference.
“It’s something we’ve dreamed of and we’re just so happy to have achieved it.”
Dejected after the 2016 final.
Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
Obviously, there was a personal edge in 2016 after the Hawk-Eye debacle, but that’s all put to rest now, the childcare assistant is reminded.
“Ah yeah, we don’t think of that!,” she grins.
“I saw it (Hawk-Eye) used in the intermediate game. It’s great. The LGFA are just constantly pushing and going forward. The attendance today showed that. It’s just amazing for us and the sport.”
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It was one of the first things put to manager Mick Bohan as he settled into his seat for media duties.
“It’s amazing the way the game goes,” he said in response to a question referencing back to the 2016 point being waved wide.
“We didn’t think Carla was in the game and all of a sudden she pops up and scores a brilliant goal to buy herself a bit of time. She was struggling again and all of a sudden she pops up and gets another goal.
“It just shows you and those were stages of the game where we had lost a little bit of control so to get that momentum back was huge.”
After slotting home.
Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO
“That’s nice to know!” Rowe then jokes about the buying time comment as she joins the press conference in Bohan’s absence.
Did she feel she was under pressure or that she needed to act fast to stay on the pitch though?
“No, you’re never thinking that. Sometimes that’s how games go and all you’re thinking is you can always work hard. That’s what I was trying to do. Get back and get forward and get up and support.
“If a scoring opportunity comes, you can take it. Otherwise, it’s about being there even if it means just getting tackles. That’s all you can do on the day.”
Well, one thing’s for sure. She treated the record-breaking crowd of 50,141 watching on to a masterclass in goal-taking.
The strikes were extremely similar. One in the 28th minute, the other as the clock struck 50 coming as the killer blow. She fired both home leaving Cork goalkeeper Martina O’Brien with little to no chance after expertly sending defenders on their way with superb dummies.
Celebrations in full flow.
Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO
“I suppose it was just to calm down in front of goal,” she tells when she’s asked what was running through her mind as she pulled the trigger.
“Just to have a relaxed head, just take a step. It was actually on my left foot so I was happy enough with them.
“I suppose the girls made it easy for me, I was one-on-one. That’s all you can do for each other.”
The scenes at the final whistle said it all. They showed exactly how much this win meant to this incredible group of players. As did the reaction of family and friends in the stands.
“It’s amazing,” Rowe concluded, noting just how special sharing the victory is.
“My Dad and Maria are always there behind me and backing every step. Today they just said, ‘All you can do is work hard and if you do that, the game will come for you and come for the team.’
“That was all I was thinking about today, just going out and working hard for the team.”
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