‘I couldn’t watch the heartache so I left the room’

AS soon as the full-time whistle went in last Saturday’s All-Ireland semi-final between Mayo and Dublin, Roisín Phelan turned on her heels and left the room.

Dublin pipped the Connacht champions with a last-minute free-kick by Sinéad Aherne, but instead of watching the celebrations, Phelan went in the other direction.

“If I’m honest, I couldn’t watch the heartbreak. Once the game was over, I left the room. I couldn’t watch the Mayo players because it would be a stark realisation that there’s a distinct possibility that that could be us on Saturday, so I didn’t want to watch anymore,” the Aghada woman admitted.

Cork's Roisin Phelan in action against Ciara McAnespie of Monaghan. Credit: Sportsfile online

Cork’s Roisin Phelan in action against Ciara McAnespie of Monaghan. Credit: Sportsfile online

Facing into her fourth year in Dentistry at UCC, Phelan is, as always, extremely mature in her take on the game. She’s not one for superstition, however she’ll stick to the same routine tonight in practising some visualisation techniques before boarding the bus to the Gaelic Grounds tomorrow.

Phelan is confident that if the reigning champions up their performance from that they produced in the All-Ireland quarter-final against Cavan a fortnight ago, then they’ll be on the right track to face Dublin in a third consecutive All-Ireland final on September 25.

“When you get to this stage, you’re not going to win if you don’t work hard. Everyone is going to have to pull their weight to track runners and do the donkey work. In the modern came it’s not about specific positions anymore, you move up and down the pitch, as both attackers and defenders, and Monaghan did that very effectively the last day so we’ll have to match that,” added the the corner-back All-Star nominee.

As to Monaghan’s threats and how Cork can improve on their game against Cavan, Phelan again is very matter-of-fact in her reply.

“They put up a massive score against Kerry and ran off the ball with so much speed and intensity, it was frightening. They played their game plan and it paid off.

“They took their chances very well and if they saw a gap they went for it. Everyone can score too so we can’t single out any one player and they’ll all have to be watched when you consider that two of their goals came from their half-back line,” said Phelan, who’s likely to be tasked with marking star forward Ciara McAnespie.

“Cavan scored a goal in first minute against us, so that wasn’t ideal. We had a slow start but we worked our way back into it and we didn’t panic. We steadied ourselves and got on with it. In the first-half, passes didn’t go our way, so we need to eliminate that and not put ourselves under so much pressure so close to our own goal.

“Our workrate was superb upfront in the second-half and we’ll need the same again, if not more, against Monaghan,” added Phelan.


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