Rabbitt insists Galway ladies will continue their journey to success

Galway's Tracey Leonard, Louise Ward and Olivia Divilly after their defeat to Dublin in the TG4 All Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship final in Croke Park on Sunday. 					Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

Galway's Tracey Leonard, Louise Ward and Olivia Divilly after their defeat to Dublin in the TG4 All Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship final in Croke Park on Sunday. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

Galway tears may have been spilt on Croke Park's hallowed turf on Sunday, but manager Tim Rabbitt insists the defeat to champions Dublin is just one stop on this team's journey.

The disappointment and frustration felt by this group of women is understandable, but there are many positives from this defeat - not least having finally broken a 14-year barren spell to reach an All Ireland final.

It cannot be forgotten that since Galway won their first and only title in 2005, Dublin have contested eight finals - Sunday being their sixth year in a row, and their third successive win.

Having brought Galway ladies to a new level, Rabbitt says they will be back. "One hundred per cent. It's the end of this year, but only a stopping point in the journey.

"The girls have learned a lot this year. They have been super, and I couldn't speak highly enough of them. I am extremely proud of the effort they have put in, every single one of them and the girls who didn't make it today.

"I couldn't have asked for more of the county board, of our sponsors Pat and Una McDonagh. Everybody came together which may have been lacking before in Galway Ladies - that everyone hasn't been backing and rowing in together - but that was there this year, and it is something we want to continue to build on."

Facing Dublin, with 42 winners’ medals in the panel, and on a three-in-a-row mission, was always going to be difficult. However Galway, with a superb defensive effort, kept them to just 1-0 to 0-1 at half time, but they failed to convert scoring chances.

"It happens in games," says Rabbitt. "You get a couple of chances in the first half, and you're hoping it will not be the deciding factor, but it was a really good start from our guys. We just didn't take the opportunities when they came."

In a low scoring game, every chance is important, he says.

"Conditions were bad, it never stopped raining the whole way through the game. There were more missed chances, Dublin missed chances in the first half and we missed some as well. It was just the way the game unfolded. I don't think I've ever been involved in a game where there were only two scores at half-time, it was a little unusual.

"It was always going to be like that, and with conditions like that, even more so. I think we conceded four goals to them last year in the All Ireland semi-final, we couldn't play that type of game today or the same thing would have happened to us. Unfortunately they got two goals, and goals change games."

Rabbitt insists nerves on the big stage were not factors.

"This team is developing along, there were no nerves, our girls went out and played, it wasn't that we didn't perform to the best of our ability. We tried our best, we were very calm. It was one score each and we were well in the game for long periods, but we made too many turnovers at crucial periods and Dublin, the good team they are, punished us.

"Yes, we conceded two goals, but to concede six scores in a match against Dublin, you would expect to win a game. Once they got the goal, we were going into a lot of traffic, and they turned over a lot of ball against us, which we knew would happen, but we had to take the game to them in the end.

Dublin, he says, are worthy All Ireland champions. " A worthy team to get three in a row, so congratulations to them."

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