Optimism in Dublin camp ahead of Cork clash
THIS Sunday the Dublin ladies will meet rivals Cork in Croke Park and preparations in the camp have been focused on going one step further this year.
The Jackies saw a 10-point lead over Cork overturned, with 15 minutes to go, to lose last year's show-piece event.
With an All-Ireland in their sights again, the team have knuckled down.
On a Thursday night in the lead-up to the match, the squad take to the pitch in Parnell Park, in the rain.
The grunt work is largely done as the game nears and the training focus has turned to technique and ball-work.
Kit-man Paul Kennedy has watched the girls develop and improve all season.
"Now it's about getting them on with the focus for the next stage [of the competition]," he said.
This year the team have relied heavily on video analysis to improve their game, and to good result.
Defensively, the team have tightened up and they have stormed the championship despite losing some key players from last year's panel.
Now that they have a chance to succeed where they fell short last year, nobody in the team or among the backroom staff is taking their meeting with Cork lightly.
The Rebels won't make it easy for the Jackies on Sunday - they are on the road for their fifth consecutive title. It will be their tenth championship in 11 seasons, if they win.
"I think you can only have respect and admire what Cork have achieved," team manager Gregory McGonigle admitted.
"Sometimes we can have a mental block about a great team or a "super team" but they're only human - at least I think they are, maybe Briege Corkery isn't," he joked.
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