blues grit scales walls of derry

THE Blue Bus left Connolly Station on Saturday morning. "We're on the road with Shaney's Army."

It arrived at the pretty little village of Swatragh in good time for the 2.30 throw-in.

The bus came to the club gates. "You can pay us when you get off," said the host officials.

There was no bus fare. The bus was jointly sponsored by the Dublin Camogie Board and the Friends of Dublin Hurling.

The youngest supporter on the bus was two-year-old Saileog, niece of the Dublin goalkeeper, Sile NicCoitir.

And there was also free tea and sandwiches for all the travellers.


The crowd were entertained by mini-games. The National Anthem sounded.

The RTé cameras were present for the Sunday Game. They picked a good one.

Dublin got their first win of the season in Group 2 of the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Championship, 0-12 to 0-8. They led 0-5 to 0-4 at the break.

Applause greeted the Dublin players as they returned to the dressing-room after the game.

"Thanks for coming up and supporting us," came the reply.

They had earned the victory. Derry are a much improved side from the one Dublin played in Bray.

Dublin have also jumped a few fences since, and now they are in the frame for the All-Ireland quarter-final.

But there's a few ifs buts and maybes to ponder.

Clare welcome Derry next Saturday. If Derry win, Dublin are through.

If Clare win, they will be joint third with Dublin.

The third placed team proceeds to the quarter-final.

Presently, Dublin's scoring difference is much better - minus 6, compared to Clare's minus 35.

The Derry captain, Meabh McGoldrick, had her eye in. She delivered some stunning sideline cuts.

The home county had the three Ni Chaiside sisters in defence, Aoife, Eilis and Brona. All hail from the famous Slaughtneil, who reached the All-Ireland Football Club final last St Patrick's Day.

Dublin's defence again excelled. Alison Maguire received the Player-of-the-Match award.

Dublin were ahead from start to finish, but Derry were never far from their heels.

Aisling Carolan had a match to remember. Time and again, she cleared the danger with timely catches and long drives.

Miriam Twomey was also in inspirational form at midfield.

Louise O'Hara, Siobhan Kehoe and Aisling Maher also made critical contributions. But, overall, it was a day when Team Dublin all played their part in a superb victory..