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Na Fianna star hails ‘leader’ Jonny Cooper ahead of Dublin finale

Na Fianna Jonny Cooper

A real leader.

This weekend, Na Fianna and Ali Fitzgerald will be looking to bridge an extended wait to claim the Go-Ahead Dublin Senior Football Championship – but they have the drive to do just that.

Na Fianna have not won a Dublin championship since their heyday in the early 2000s, and are back in the Dublin SFC final for the first time since 2005.

And a stiff test lies in store for them against Kilmacud Crokes.

“Any team in the country would be lucky to have him. He really drives the standards…”

While the game will be a test, it will be a tie that Na Fianna will be looking forward to.

Last year, the Dublin side were edged out by Crokes in a dramatic Dublin championship quarter-final, with Crokes boss Robbie Brennan declaring that Na Fianna were one of the toughest sides he has come up against.

But they are back again, with the likes of Jonny Cooper and Eoin Murchan driving standards at the club.

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“Jonny is exactly what you see,” Fitzgerald explains when speaking at a media event ahead of Sunday’s Parnell Park showdown. “He demands the best from everyone. He gets it.

“He has huge respect in our group. Any team in the country would be lucky to have him. He really drives the standards.

“Having a bit more exposure to him this year from club level has been huge for us.

“Not only Jonny, but Eoin Murchan, Aaron [Byrne], James [Doran], all the lads who have been involved with Dublin. Coming back in this year, they’ve added so much to our panel.

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“‘We wanted to create that panel where it felt that they could come back in seamlessly. I think we managed that this year. Jonny is a leader for sure.”

“There’s a great buzz in the community that we have around Na Fianna…”

Like Kilmacud Crokes, Na Fianna are heading into Sunday’s Dublin final with a community behind them.

With 3,500 members, Fitzgerald is hoping that the buzz around their club will help drive them on as they chase their first Dublin title since 2001.

“Last year, everyone got a taste of what it meant to be in the final with the hurlers, and the ladies footballers,” Fitzgerald adds. “That pushed the standards this year for us, and the camogie as well, if I can speak for them.

“There’s a great buzz in the community that we have around Na Fianna. It’s tough to get a community in a Dublin club.

“I have to say that Na Fianna, with the 3,500 members it really is a community. Over the last few weeks, seeing the colours around the area, it shows that there’s so many people behind us and supporting us.”

Proud sponsors of the Dublin GAA Club Championships, Go-Ahead Ireland hosted a media event with Ali Fitzgerald of Na Fianna pictured ahead of Sunday’s Go-Ahead Dublin Senior Football Championship final taking place in Parnell Park at 4.30pm.

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