‘You have 35-plus child minders there’ – Dublin squad babysit baby Aoife so that Hannah Tyrrell can attend training

Life comes at you fast. Just ask Dublin’s Hannah Tyrrell. Only a few months after the signature performance of her career in last year’s All-Ireland final, she found herself wondering if she could, or even should, go again with the county.

Baby Aoife arrived just weeks before the final win over Kerry. And on the day, Tyrrell kicked eight points, four from play in what she agrees is the best performance of her career, to help Dublin sweep back to the top of the ladies game.

But given the change at home, and the demands of county football, committing to Dublin for 2024 wasn’t straightforward.

“I was just kind of deciding did I have it in me,” she said at the launch of the TG4 All-Ireland ladies football championships in Croke Park.

​“Did I have a bit of life left in the body? And was I willing to give up time with my daughter at home? I had to chat with family because they are the ones making the sacrifices for me to let me out and train.

“And Dublin have been brilliant. I felt like I have something to give and help the younger players coming through this year. I still had that fire in the belly to try and go on and do a bit more.”

She made a slightly delayed return in the league and at times had to be creative when it came to child minding. At times, Aoife has appeared at Dublin training sessions.

“You have 35-plus child minders there,” Tyrrell smiled. “It’s handy!

“It’s mostly been to gym sessions. A few times we brought her in and we all take turns minding her. It’s just life and how it works sometimes, you have to make adjustments and I think that is what makes our team so good I suppose.

“We are just so good at adjusting and adapting to what it thrown at us – we make it work.”

Tyrrell admits now that she expected last season to be one for developing the new crop before they found their stride in the knockout stages.

“I thought this was a team in transition that would take a couple of years to get going but in fairness those young girls stepped up everyone got on board and we managed to make it work and put in the best performance we had all year.

“We played Kerry twice, got thrashed in the league in Killarney and then beaten off the Park in Parnell Park as well in the All-Ireland series so from quarter-final, semi-final on was when we started to turn the screw and things came good for us.”

Dublin will be delighted to have her back on board but she could very well be headed in another direction this summer. For the last Olympic cycle, Tyrrell was part of the rugby sevens set-up and had she committed for another term, could well be heading for Paris.

Instead she retired in 2020 and returned to Gaelic football.

But with the Olympics around the corner, is there any part of her wondering what might have been?

“No, not wondering, I’m over it. When they qualified last year there was a little bit in my stomach of, ‘Jeez, that would be amazing’.

“It was something I obviously tried to do for seven or eight years but no, I’m just so proud of the girls and I’m really looking forward to it.

“They have worked so hard and become such a good team over the last couple of years that they have a huge chance of getting a medal.

“I retired from the Irish Sevens team in 2020 when Covid hit. But yeah, my plans had been to continue on playing, go to the Olympics. But I had kind of wanted to start my career as well and it’s quite difficult to do with rugby, so I retired but I’m looking forward to watching the girls in Paris. I think it could be a really good summer for both the men and women’s sevens. I will be over there watching them too.”

Tyrrell will travel over with a contingent of ex-sevens players, including Kerry’s Louise Galvin. By then she’s hoping to have another All-Ireland medal in her pocket after what, she admits, is anyone’s championship.

“It’s brilliant that it has become so competitive. You do well in the All-Ireland series and top your group you obviously have a more favourable home draw, but anything can happen on the day. So, for us, it is game by game and seeing where we are at and putting in performances.”

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