Sportswoman of the Month Aoife Doyle credit Inpho photography

Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Month - December

14 Jan 2021
Caroline O'Mahony

The Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Month for December 2020 is jointly awarded to Aoife Doyle (Camogie) and Sinead Goldrick (Gaelic Football).

For the camogie players of Kilkenny and the footballers of Dublin, the strangest of years ended on the highest of highs.

For Kilkenny, this was, remarkably, their seventh final in eight years, but only once in that spell, in 2016, had they come away from Croke Park as victors.  When they trailed reigning champions Galway by two points at half-time, they might have feared it was going to be another day of heartache, Aoife Doyle recalling that “we were panicking when we went into the dressing room”.

The management team, though, “calmed us down”, she said, no doubt reminding the players that they had trailed Cork by six points in their semi-final before they registered their first score. No shortage of resolve, then, and they displayed it in abundance against Galway, drawing level within five minutes of the re-start and never falling behind again. 

One of the day’s harder tasks was choosing the player of the match, the list of contenders a lengthy one, but Doyle’s display in the Kilkenny attack got her the nod. The first of her four points, which made her the top scorer from play, was a superb effort over her left shoulder while running away from the posts, but just as valuable was her tireless work-rate, Doyle harrying and hassling the Galway defence for the duration of the game.

Sinead Goldrick was no less industrious in Dublin’s five point victory over Cork, which completed their four-in-a-row. There was a hint of an upset in the air when Cork led by three points at half-time, but Goldrick’s second half marking of the prolific Orla Finn, restricting her to just one point from play, was a key factor in Dublin’s success. 

A challenging year, then, ended with Kilkenny and Dublin raising silverware in Croke Park, Doyle and Goldrick our sportswomen of the month for December, both for their own outstanding performances and as representatives of their triumphant teams. 

Sportswoman of the Month Sinead Goldrick credit Inpho photography