Mayo win was huge for us - Martha Byrne

  • Feb 07,2024



By Paul Keane 

Buffeted by the stiff breeze and trailing heavily on the scoreboard, Martha Byrne and Dublin were in a difficult spot at half-time against Mayo last weekend. 

Fresh off two defeats in the National League, something special was required to kickstart their campaign and the All-Ireland title holders duly delivered.

The gale-force wind behind them helped for sure but outscoring Mayo by 2-11 to 0-1 in the second-half of that Ballina encounter was still an epic feat which sealed their first win of the season.

"It was very important for us," said experienced defender Byrne at the announcement that GetPRO, a new high protein range from Danone, are the new Official Protein Partner of Dublin GAA. "We had a slower start to the campaign than we would have liked so to get a win on the road was hugely important.

"It was a long day and a long trip to Ballina and the first-half was not as we wanted it to go so the character we showed in the second-half to get the win was hugely important.

"The wind was incredible, you couldn't give a hand-pass without it going a different direction, so the wind was huge. I think we maybe dealt with the wind better than Mayo did. In the second-half the forwards just kicked on and everything they seemed to kick turned to gold, so it was a good second-half."

Dublin have ties against Galway, Waterford, Cork and Armagh to come. The hope is that Mick Bohan's crew can keep up the winning habit and the return to activity this season of Olwen Carey is a big help. Byrne said that having Nicole Owens back following an injury plagued couple of years is a massive bonus too.

It remains to be seen if Hannah Tyrrell, who gave one of the all-time great individual displays in last year's All-Ireland final win over Cork, fancies another season.

According to Byrne, she has been spotted at training but isn't fully back yet. The Na Fianna colossus has much to consider.

"She obviously has a commitment in the form of a seven-month old baby," said Byrne. "So she's been afforded more time, which she absolutely should be. I think it would be great to see more mums playing football. We had a few years ago and I know there are some of the girls up in Donegal who have played with children. You have to facilitate women who have children and give them a little bit more time if they need it. But it would be great to have Hannah back."

There is optimism about former captain fantastic Sinead Aherne giving it another year too.

"Sinead is another one who is back training with us," said Byrne. "The experience that she offers and the knowledge that she has to pass on is huge. In training last year, she was still absolutely skinning loads of us so she'll be kind of with us again this year, it's great."

All of which means that it could be another fruitful year under Bohan who has signed up for an eighth consecutive season as manager. Byrne believes that it is a labour of love for the man who has guided Dublin to five All-Ireland wins since 2017.

"I think he just loves it," she smiled. "We have a really special set-up between management and players. There's a really good bond between the players, the management and the coaches. It's a really special environment to be part of so I'd say there's a bit of an addictive element.

"Like someone trying to step away as a player, I'd say it's very hard to step away as a manager too. He has young daughters himself and I think he's very keen to continuously improve the standards of ladies football. He obviously feels that he has a little bit more to do."