Credit where credit’s due, RTÉ’s sporting documentary on the Dublin ladies footballers Blue Sisters will go down with the best.
On Monday night RTÉ laid down a marker on national television to highlight to the wider public that they are avid supporters of elite female sports in Ireland.
With complete access, the programme followed the Dublin ladies footballers along their five-game journey to All-Ireland final glory, with the documentary emphatically capturing the effort and dedication that elite sportswomen in Ireland put into their craft. Reaching the top in any sport, regardless of gender, takes time, skill, effort and commitment – and in this documentary it’s shown in abundance.
Unlike their male counterparts, the Dublin ladies footballers hadn’t tasted All-Ireland success since 2010 and they were on the receiving end of three successive All-Ireland final defeats. However, with Mick Bohan as the new manager on the scene, he instilled a sense of belief in his players and the documentary beautifully captures this.
Though it seemed that Bohan’s motivational messages struck a note with many of the players, it was the effort and commitment they were making elsewhere that was the real difference. From running up hills, to completing countless gym-sessions, to training ‘four or five days per week’ and working jobs in between, they simply reaped in the rewards of their diligence.
“At the end of the day, everybody wants to wear that jersey because it means so much to everyone. You want to be in that starting fifteen. Mick, Ken and all the management say that the best fifteen in training will play – and they are being true to their word,” remarked Sinéad Goldrick.
“You can’t switch off, because if you switch off somebody else is going to come in. So if you are lucky enough to get that jersey, you want to hold onto it.”
The documentary had everything; it was insightful, humorous and emotional. From laughing at Ken Robinson’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the sizes of every GAA ground in the country, to almost weeping when Dublin footballer Nicole Owens opens up publicly about her depression. It was heart-warming, emotionally engaging and astutely entertaining in equal measure.
Des Cahill found Robinson so entertaining that he even tweeted him asking him to go for a pint, while tributes flew in on social media from people like Jason Sherlock in support of Nicole Owens for sharing her harrowing experience to the wider-world.
As a sports fan,I really enjoyed #BlueSisters Star of the show for me was Nicole Owens for sharing her experience of depression & highlighting the value of sport in our lives
— Jason Sherlock (@boomjayo) November 27, 2017
The journey to Croke Park for these women was special, as it is for every GAA team. The crowd on All-Ireland final day 46,286, a new record, and the pictures and videos of emphatic crowds immersed in the game depicted the beauty and importance of the sport to a greater extent.
It’s time we rallied behind our troops in ladies football and the Camogie Association, and if you need a reason why, just look at the documentary here.
A trailer for the documentary can be watched below.
Jason Redmond, Pundit Arena
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