Friday 22 March 2019

Mearnog ace spear heads Dubs attack


Rory Kerr

For the second consecutive year, Dublin will have teams represented across three codes in what will be certainly be a Blue September for the Capital.

Sandwiched in between the men's and Ladies football finals, is the Liberty Insurance Premier Junior Camogie decider next Sunday as Dublin attempt to erase the memory of last year's disappointing defeat to Westmeath.

Shane Plowman's team lost by a four-point margin after two contentious calls went in favour of the midlanders, but with Plowman still at the helm Dublin have made a quick return following wins over Armagh, Roscommon and Offaly.

Their opponents in Sunday's noon throw-in at GAA headquarters will be Kerry in what will be a repeat of the 2017 semi-final when Dublin won by six points.

Heading the scoring charts for Dublin this year, with 2-22, is Naomh Mearnog's Aoibhe Dillon who, after an impressive 11-point haul in the opening round of qualifiers, grabbed goals in both the quarter-final and semi.

This will be Dublin's ninth appearance in the final since the competition was established in 1968 and they secured their place in the decider with a 3-12 to 1-3 win over Offaly.

Dillon insisted, though, that the victory was not as conclusive as the scoreline might suggest.

'Offaly were a tough, physical team,' she said, 'and the scoreline was a bit misleading. We kind of pulled away in the last five minutes and they had a player set off.

'It was probably different watching it, but there was never a feeling from us that we were comfortably ahead.'

Dillon watched last year's final from the stands and she will be be as determined as anyone to put that right.

'I would have known a lot of last year's team because they are in my age group and you could tell after the game that they couldn't believe the result.'

Speaking at last Thursday's launch of the final at Parnells GAA Club, Dillon said there was a determination within the group to complete the job.

'At the start of the year we were very determined and it was, like, we are going to get back to Croke Park. That was our aim from the first day, and getting to the semi-finals of the league has been a good achievement for us along with reaching the Leinster final.'

Dillon, who started her career as a full back, is joined in the panel by clubmates Laura Walsh and Grainne Power, while Aisling Spillane (Skerries Harps) and Ciara Buchanan (St Finian's Swords) make their second all-Ireland final appearance in 12 months.

Fingal Independent