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Hannah Tyrrell: ‘I will do anything to get that All-Ireland’

The 32-year-old football and rugby star is still chasing a first senior title win with Dublin

The last thing Hannah Tyrrell wants to talk about is retirement, which is good news for Dublin football, not so for their opponents. Sunday’s latest showdown against rivals Meath might prove another reason why.

For the second successive year, they meet in the Leinster final, with Dublin winning last year, before beating Meath in the league (twice) and again in the round-robin phase of the Leinster championship last month.

Tyrrell’s presence unquestionably made the difference that day, scoring 1-1 as Dublin prevailed 1-6 to 0-7. Meath, however, boast their back-to-back All-Irelands, including the 2021 final win over Dublin, the season Tyrrell rejoined the panel having concentrated on rugby for the previous seven years, winning the Six Nations with Ireland in 2015.

“Obviously it’s something I’ve been chasing for a while now, coming into the team that had won four in a row, then losing an All-Ireland final, and not getting back there since,” Tyrrell says of the enduring ambition and motivation.


“It’s pretty tough, but for me that’s part of the reason to keep going, it’s been a dream of mine to win an All-Ireland for a very long time now. I still believe I have something to contribute to the team, and I still believe the team has the ability to do that. That’s why I’m here and pushing hard at training every week.

“Right now, I want to go out and win another Leinster title, but I haven’t looked past that, I’m not getting ahead of myself, we’ll deal with the All-Ireland series after this weekend.”

At 32, Tyrrell also admits her decision to play on past this season may well be influenced by a pending new arrival – her wife is expecting their first child at the end of June.

“Yes, [it] will be a new challenge, and we’re very excited for it. But I’m not thinking about it at this stage of the season. Maybe when it comes to the close of the season and my circumstances will have changed, will I have a think about retiring? Yeah, probably. It definitely crossed my mind but I can’t make that judgment now. I’m feeling pretty good in my body now, still contributing to the team [and I] feel like I’m a valued member.

“I’m very happy to keep going once I can give it 100 per cent commitment. If it’s any less than that maybe that’s the time for me to stop, because I’m a player, when I’m in, I’m all in. So we’ll see where we’re at at the end of the season. That decision might be a little easier if we win an All-Ireland, but I’m not confirming anything yet. There’s plenty more football to play yet.”

On that Meath rivalry, Dublin may indeed boast the better winning record, only for Tyrrell every game takes on a life of its own. “We’ve played them an awful lot now, do our analysis on them, and I’m sure they do it on us. But I don’t think you can ever be too comfortable with a team, the quality of players they have. We play different styles of football but it’s always a good battle when we meet.

“They’ve been very successful the last few years but we’ve created a nice rivalry that’s exciting for the game, and they’re always good games to play. For a while Dublin was the only team in Leinster, now Meath have changed the game, but it’s a healthy rivalry and we have embraced it head-on.

“Similar to ourselves, they’ve lost a few players to travel, to injury, but they’re still a fantastic outfit; it can always go either way when we come up against each other, and it should be another good [game] this weekend.”

For Tyrrell, speaking at the announcement of AIG’s extension as insurance partner to the Ladies’ Gaelic Football Association for a new five-year term, the enjoyment part is still a factor too.

“Are there days it feels like an absolute slog and I’ve a million other things going on in my life? Absolutely, particularly in pre-season. But I have a dream, I have a goal, I’ve always been very ambitious and I will do anything to get that All-Ireland.

“I have many more years ahead of me when I can sit in front of the fire, have drinks with my friends. If it is my last season, I want to make it as enjoyable as possible, both on and off the pitch.”

Sunday’s fixtures

Leinster Senior Final: Dublin v Meath, Laois Hire O’Moore Park, Portlaoise; 4.15pm

Munster Senior Final: Cork v Kerry, Mallow; 3.30pm

Ulster Senior Final: Armagh v Donegal; Owenbeg Centre of Excellence, Derry; 3.30pm

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics