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Thursday 15 November 2018

Dublin set to sparkle

All-Ireland Junior Camogie final: Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park (tom, 12pm)

Dublin’s Niamh Gannon in action against Tipperary earlier this year
Dublin’s Niamh Gannon in action against Tipperary earlier this year

The Kerry captain, Jackie Horgan, arrived in Croke Park. It was the media day for the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Camogie finals.

She revealed that down in her native Lixnaw, the locals are not talking about the weather any more.

It's all camogie chat over the grocer's counter. And on every street corner.

"Before this, people didn't even know there was camogie in Kerry," Jackie quipped.

But camogie there most certainly is in this pocket of the Kingdom. North Kerry is where the small ball bounces highest.

And Kerry have been bouncing along quite nicely under manager, Jackie Horgan. He has steered them to the Division 3 League title.

And now, for the first time, they have reached the promised land of an All-Ireland Junior final. Last season they were one step away, beaten in the semi-final.

Dublin were one step from Heaven themselves, losing last year's final to Westmeath with four points the difference in the end.

The Dubs played well on the day. They left the Jones's Road with plenty of lessons in the kit bag and they have maintained their good form this term.

They reached the semi-final in Division 2 without losing a single game in their group.

Not too bad for their first year in the division. And their form in the championship has been impressive.

They beat Armagh and Roscommon before defeating Offaly in the semi-final.

In their pool, Kerry overcame Clare and Limerick.

They lost to Offaly but they still made the semi-final where they recorded a handsome victory against Roscommon.

Settled

The Dubs have a nice, settled luck about them. Aoibhe Dillon and Laoise Quinn have been totting up the scores. Aoife Bugler's return is a considerable boost and Niamh Gannon has been a rock at the back.

The Clanmaurice club are the heartbeat of the Kerry side.

They possess the celebrated Patrice Diggin, one of the finest players in the sport. And Laura Collins will take watching.

Dublin's first five All-Ireland final appearances in All-Ireland finals were played under the old 12-a-side format.

Mary Murphy played on the Dublin teams of 1974 and 1975.

She is an aunt of the current Dublin player, Sinéad Murphy.

Dublin were last Junior champs in 2006. That was under manager, Peter Lucey, who also steered them to the title the previous year.

The current boss man, Shane Plowman, has instilled confidence.

Dublin go in as favourites tomorrow, but there's a fresh wind blowing in off the sea in Ballyheigue.

Verdict: Dublin

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