Another day, another Croke Park final for Meath. But Royals captain Shauna Ennis insists her side are determined not to be a one-hit wonder after last year’s brilliant return to senior form.
Today is another Croke Park final against Donegal in which both teams will win the top flight for the first time in their history.
The Finals is old hat for Meath at this point, winning the last of three consecutive Intermediate Finals in 2020 before coming to his maiden Seniors title last year. Securing this season is Ennis’ priority this time.
“I think it was really important after last year that we were able to back up last year’s win with good performances in the league,” reflects Ennis.
“Like you said, we didn’t want people to say we were a one-hit wonder. We just took each game as it came and just looked for performance and improvement in each game.
“It’s a bonus that we reached the final. Of course it’s great that we can fight for a trophy again at Croke Park. Any day you come to Croke Park is a good day.”
One indicator of how much the team has captured the county’s imagination came when they faced Dublin in their league clash.
Although both teams had already reached the knockout rounds, a huge crowd turned out to watch a replay of the All Ireland final.
“I was there when literally only our parents were in the stands, so to see that crowd at Páirc Tailteann… it was almost bigger than a men’s game,” she says.
“It was just amazing and a really, really nice opportunity to play a home game and have so many spectators there. The result didn’t go our way that day but also after that all the little kids queuing for autographs and stuff, it means a lot to the people of Meath at the moment and they’re giving us great support and we’re grateful for that support too .
“I definitely think that in Páirc Tailteann that day you could feel the energy of the crowd and when we did something wrong or right you could hear the sigh or the roar.
“Yes, I think you definitely feed on that energy. Of course there was a huge crowd at Croke Park last September which was fantastic so now we’re hoping there will be a good crowd here on Sunday.”
Meath enjoys a new status this time. After winning the All Ireland title, Eamonn Murray’s side are now the hunted rather than the hunters. And in Donegal they meet a side who beat Dublin in dramatic fashion in the semi-finals, scoring two late goals in just 23 seconds.
“The game on Sunday will be a very, very tough game. Donegal is pretty much an experienced Division 1 team,” she reasoned.
“This is our first year in Division 1 – apart from our win in the Championship last year – and they beat Dublin in the semi-finals, it’s going to be a really, really tough physical game.”
But one thing is for sure – Ennis and her teammates will all rise to the challenge.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/gaelic-games/ladies-football/we-didnt-want-to-be-known-as-one-hit-wonders-meath-skipper-shauna-ennis-relishing-return-to-croker-41528287.html “We didn’t want to be known as a one-hit wonder” – Meath skipper Shauna Ennis is happy about returning to Croker