No departures so far with Dublin all in for Drive for Five, says Player of the Year nominee

DUBLIN STAR CARLA Rowe has her heart set on defending her side’s TG4 All-Ireland senior championship this year – and feels the lure of a magical five-in-a-row could keep Mick Bohan’s panel unified in another uncertain season.

Rowe was one of Dublin’s standout players as she helped her side to victory in December’s All-Ireland Final victory over Cork.

After showing brilliant form throughout the condensed championship season, Lidl One Good Club ambassador Rowe joined Armagh’s Aimee Mackin and Dublin’s Sinéad Goldrick on the Senior Players’ Player of the Year shortlist last week.

A handful of Rowe’s Dublin teammates were there in 2010 as the county won their first All-Ireland senior title, but she says the chance of continuing to play with their standard-setting side is hard to walk away from.

“Obviously it is not about the five-in-a-row, but your goal is to win an All-Ireland every year. It just so happens that it will be a five-in-a-row if we win it,” said Rowe, from the Clann Mhuire club.

“That’s definitely our goal and my head will be set on getting ready, on getting back training and working hard to be fit enough to hopefully win another All-Ireland. If that comes with five-in-a-row, that will be brilliant.

“I’ve heard nothing of anyone stepping down or away so far, which is good. That wee bit of a break and down-time from the team is needed for people to not feel under pressure to make any decisions.

(Among the group particular question marks remain over would be four-in-a-row winning captain Sinéad Aherne, who has been involved since in ’03, and other long-serving stalwarts like Lyndsey Davey and Siobhán McGrath.)

“Mick (Bohan) is very good at knowing that we still need a break. If this was a normal season and we had been playing in September, we’d still only be a month-and-a-half into our season.

“Some girls will be, ‘I’m definitely going back’, but there are always some players that face the question every year…do they want to return? So we’ll just have to wait and see when we regroup.”

Dublin after their All-Ireland final win over Cork in December.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

When that get-together happens is very much up in the air following the removal of Gaelic Games from the elite Covid-19 list, although the defending champions have only just started to get back in touch with each other online in recent days.

Eight weeks on from their All-Ireland final win, there was something to celebrate for Rowe as she joined Mackin and Goldrick on the player-voted Senior Players’ Player of the Year shortlist, which she regards as a huge honour.

“I was in class and my phone was buzzing, I didn’t know what was going on. I had a little peek at it and saw a tweet coming up about it. I couldn’t believe it.

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“All-Stars or Player of the Match awards are great, but it’s beyond my wildest dream to think that I was going to get nominated for Player of the Year.

“I always think of players like Briege Corkery, Bríd Stack, Lyndsey Davey, Sinéad Aherne, the greats being nominated and winning it.

“It’s players who inspire me that are voting for it. They know the sport so well and they know what it takes. So to be performing well and to get the vote from them, for myself, Goldie and Aimee, it’s an absolute honour and I’m just delighted.

Rowe was speaking following last week’s announcement that Lidl is giving every Ladies Football club in the country the chance to raise up to €20,000 for themselves through Lidl’s new club fundraising initiative.

Starting yesterday, supporters can register their purchases through Lid’s rewards app, Lidl Plus. If users spend over €30 and scan their app at the till, they will receive a digital stamp. Once six stamps have been collected, users can submit their completed stamp card toward their chosen club’s total.

Rewards begin at a set of new jerseys for clubs that collect at least 50 stamp cards and go right up to €5,000 in cash funding for 500 or more completed cards. In addition, the club in each province that collects the most stamp cards overall will win the €20,000 top prize.

Level The Playing Field with Lidl Plus by raising up to €20,000 for your local LGFA club!

Collect stamps on the Lidl Plus app and start earning big for your club!

See and check out @lidl_ireland

— Ladies Football (@LadiesFootball) February 8, 2021

Rowe was part of a team of Ladies Footballers that recorded Lidl’s new ‘Level the Playing Field’ advert, which she says just beat Covid-19 to the punch.

“It was a brilliant couple of days,” said Rowe. “We recorded it last March before the country went into lockdown. We were up in the mountains at Glendalough filming.

“It was a great experience and it looks fantastic. I thought the production team did an amazing job.

“There are photos on billboards and bus stops all over the place, and I got a few pictures sent to me, so I’ll be happy when I can get out of my 5km to have a look at them all.”

– additional reporting by Emma Duffy

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