I have to say I really enjoyed the recent Blues Sisters documentary on RTÉ. It was such a fresh insight into the preparation of a sports team and a welcome departure from the professionalism behind closed doors which has crept into the men’s game.
The action started at a quiet pitch in Timahoe as the Dublin Ladies, who had experienced heartbreak in three previous All-Ireland finals (all against Cork), opened their Leinster campaign against Laois. The opening scenes were in stark contrast to the end of the programme which showed the Dubs win their long overdue All-Ireland in front of over 40,000 people in Croke Park.
The journey from Timahoe to the Jones’ Road was beautifully documented and included plenty of emotion as players spoke about heartbreaking issues such as the loss of a loved one and a battle with depression. A strong supporting cast included the county secretary from Leitrim who washed the jerseys and coach Ken Robinson who seemed to know the dimensions of every pitch in Ireland.
Fast forward to the dramatic climax and judging by the attendance at this year’s All-Ireland final between Dublin and Mayo, ladies’ football is growing at a rapid rate while it was also great to see so many young girls at the Dublin press night in the build-up. The Dublin players are fantastic role models for those fans and this documentary should see even more young players take up the game.
Also, for anyone in any doubt as to the level of effort the ladies put in compared to their male counterparts, this documentary will serve as evidence of their total commitment. It’s easy to forget sometimes just how much our amateur sports stars sacrifice for the cause and as manager Mick Bohan said, “There is no soft landing” when things don’t work out.