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Monday 18 December 2017

Stritch: It's time to stretch Senior 'B' Championship

MAKE the All-Ireland Senior 'B' Championship even bigger -- that's the plea of Pat Stritch, the Dublin 'B' chief.

"It's a terrific competition," insists Pat. "And it's a pity that more counties don't buy into it."

Pat feels it's the ideal vehicle for young players to get acquainted with the demands of the inter-county terrain.

"It provides the perfect platform for girls to sample inter-county football. And from our point of view, we have identified a bit of a gap between minor and top senior inter-county level.

"You might have players who have finished minor, but who are not yet ready to take the step up to the Senior 'A' grade.

"This tournament is a way of keeping them involved at inter-county level, and hopefully after a couple of years they can kick on.

"Our policy was always to introduce our minors to this grade and let them blend in with the more experienced players on the squad and learn from them."

Illusions

On Sunday, the Dublin Senior Bs travel to play Cork in the All-Ireland semi-final. "We are under no illusions," Pat added. "Cork have more or less dominated ladies football for the last ten years.

"We already played them in Fermoy in the group stage. We lost that day but at least we now know what we are up against, and we'd be optimistic that the girls will rise to the challenge.

"Our first two games were defeats against Cork and Kerry. They were two tough ones to start with, but we have had wins against Meath and Kildare."

Pat is joined on the management unit by Eamonn O'Donnell, Joe Keane, Grainne Burke, Fiona Walsh and Paul O'Donovan. Dublin and Cork have played in every final since the tournament began in 2007.

The championship honours the memory of Aisling McGing.

Boarding the Cork Express doesn't curb the spirit of the Blues.

Pat said: "That's the way it has worked out. It's an away fixture. It is what it is. The players are working hard, and you can't ask for anymore than that."

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