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Denis eyes blast-off in Banner

DUBLIN'S Three Amigos are well warmed up by now. 2013 stretches invitingly before them.

Denis Murphy is the leader of the expedition. Ann Colgan and Brian Lawlor are his leading cohorts.

Ann's presence recalls Dublin's proud past. She captained the last Dublin team to win the All-Ireland senior title in 1984.

But now it's all about trying to mould a golden tomorrow. Last season's exploits cheered the county.

"We made some progress. That helped to lift the profile. You can sense there's a bit more interest now," reflects Denis.



IMPROVEMENT

"We lost the All-Ireland quarter-final by a point to Offaly. That was disappointing, but it gives us a target for this year. Our aim is to try and keep the improvement going.

"We finished the championship quite well, but we weren't happy in the way we started. We began too slowly.

"That is something we'll have to guard against this time because they have changed the championship format slightly.

"It means you have to win a couple of your group games.

"Last season, even if you finished bottom of your group, you were still able to qualify for a quarter-final play-off," adds Denis.

"So that will give us the incentive to hit the ground running in the championship. We'll need to be competitive from the off."

There will be no lack of competition for places. "We'll have about 26 players in the panel for the league and we'll see after that.

"For the Dubs Stars match, we had a few of the minors guesting for us, so we'll certainly be keeping an eye on them in the minor championship.

"We might draft some of them in for the latter stages of the league and maybe even for the championship. We'll see."

The league throws-in next month.



TOUGH

"We have Clare away in our first match. That will be tough. They did quite well last year. We had a ding-dong battle with them in Parnell Park which ended with a draw. We won't get anything easy down there.

"Then we have Wexford and Galway at home. They'll also be testing matches. Wexford are the All-Ireland champions, while Galway have been in the All-Ireland final or semi-final in the past few years.

"We faced both of them away last year. We were very disappointed by the way we played in Galway, so we'll be looking for improvement there.

"Wexford and Galway are obviously quality teams. Those two games will give us the opportunity to measure ourselves against the best."