herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Jackies aiming to lance Laois

Ring expecting high-tempo test

THE Jackies go back to the Firhouse Road next Sunday. It's their last Pool game in Division 1 of the Bord Gáis Energy NFL.

Laois will share the stage at the compact Páirc Uí Mhurchú. The clash will rekindle memories of the epic All-Ireland semi-final in 2010.

That took place in Dr Cullen Park, Carlow. Laois, managed by former county footballer Joe Higgins, had one foot and four toes in the final.

But the Dubs climbed back off the floor to earn a famous victory, 1-8 to 0-9. Lyndsey Davey hit 1-1, with Amy McGuinness converting three priceless frees.

Gerry McGill's Army were going to Croke Park. Tommy Brown, Mick Browne and the present Waterford hurling boss, Michael Ryan, were also on the Dublin management ticket.

And what a display the Dubs delivered on the biggest day of all against Tyrone to collect the Brendan Martin Cup for the first time.

But that was then. This is now. Not quite all change at Crewe, but a few alternations just the same.

The new-look Dubs are already in the league semi-final. Laois have not secured their spot yet. They can feel Meath's breath hot on their necks.

It should make for an interesting spectacle. When a team is fighting for something, there's always extra salt and vinegar on the chips.

"It will be a tough game for us," predicts Dublin selector, Pat Ring, as the hosts seek their fifth win from eight games.

They lost two -- to Cork and last week against Monaghan.

"It was close all the way against Monaghan. Their winning point didn't come 'til the 60th minute," recounts Pat.

Yet, despite the loss, Dublin were happy with the workout, just as they were the last time they played at the Boden HQ against Cork.

The tempo and quality of that duel is exactly the type of test that Peter Clarke and his colleagues want for the girls.

"Yes, just like our game against Cork, the Monaghan fixture was an excellent outing," relates Pat.

"And we could possibly meet Monaghan again in the semi-final. It all depends on how Sunday's results go.

"We are pleased with the way things are going. This time last year we were in Division 2. Now, we are fighting for second spot in Division 1, so that's progress.

"The team is beginning to settle. We have had plenty of matches and challenge games. There's a pattern developing now and the squad have responded brilliantly."

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