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dublin out on their own in leinster race

D is for Dublin. And D is for dominance. This season the Dubs came so close to collecting the two biggest prizes in the sport.

In their first Division 1 National League final, they were a knuckle away from beating Cork.

And they were even closer to overcoming the Leeside legends in the All-Ireland Senior Championship final.

But they had one glittering trophy at last Saturday night's gala awards banquet - the Leinster Senior Championship crown.

In recent times, no county has come within a hand-pass of the Dubs in the province.


"Yes, Dublin are the benchmark in Leinster. They have set the bar for every other county in the province to look up to," states Leinster president, Marie Hickey.

This term, the Dubs sauntered through the Leinster Championship, hitting high scores on their journey.

In the final at O'Moore Park, they scored a whopping 6-21 against Laois. It was some display of pace, power and finishing.

And since they first lifted the Leinster title in 2002, Dublin have secured the title every year since except on three occasions.

The only other side to win Leinster in that period were Laois. Their victories came in 2006, 2007 and 2011.

As it is with the Dublin male footballers, Dublin are out on their own in Leinster.

And in the case of the Jackies, even more so.

And the secret to that run is not really a secret at all.

The Dubs just work harder than most.

"Dublin have really come through strongly at underage level over the last number of years," remarks Marie.

"They have won All-Ireland U21, Minor and other All-Ireland titles as well, and that is certainly paying dividends for them.

"Dublin have put in huge work. They put in a big effort this year. And they have been getting their rewards."

Like all, Marie had sympathy for the Dubs in the All-Ireland final.

"They were unfortunate, but they were up against a wonderful team in Cork. Cork are never beaten. They are just such a amazing group with a brilliant manager in Eamonn Ryan."

Yet even Cork don't have a picnic in Munster. Kerry have been giving them something to think about in recent seasons.

Yet the Dubs just keep rolling along. Next summer, they'll be the big favourites again to collect the Leinster chalice.

Such an easy passage has cost them in the past when it came to the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

This season was their first time to get over the quarter-final since Denise Masterson lifted the Brendan Martin Cup in 2010.

Yet the long gap from the Leinster final to the All-Ireland quarter-final is another factor in that.

And an even bigger one is the sight of those fabled red jerseys coming out of the other dressing-room.

Yet keen competition in Leinster can only benefit a team for the steeper jumps to come.

Dublin are the undisputed number one seeds presently. But they'd welcome tougher challenges.

All would love to see the return of the Royals. They last won Leinster in 2000, completing the four-in-a-row.

That's an accolade the Dubs will be aiming for next summer.