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dublin's armada are ready to sail

DUBLIN Castle has never looked more secure. It's been protected by one of the finest gate-keepers of them all.

Sile Nic Coitir is a supreme sports-woman. She decorated the football arena.

And she has long been a cultured camogie custodian. She turns the role into an art.

So much about the goalkeeper's duty revolves around reading the play.

Sile can see the picture before it comes up on the screen.

Even at the height of the rush hour traffic, she brings such composure to the role.

Bravery is also a priority. And here again, she gets top marks.

Sile is a teacher. Last week she was in Croke Park as her school, Scoil Mologa, took home the Olly Quinlan trophy.

Wouldn't it be something if the Dubs got back to the big house on a September afternoon.

But that's a thought for another time. Right now, all the Blues are thinking about are the Cats.

This Saturday, Dublin open their Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship campaign against Kilkenny at Parnell Park (2.30).

"The game can't come quick enough," states Sile. "It will be a massive test for us, but we are all looking forward to it."

Tipperary, Clare and Derry are also in the Group. For Dublin, it's one puck at a time.

Dublin host Tipperary on July 4 before travelling to both Clare (July 11) and Derry (July 18).

"We have been working hard on our fitness, and on the skills.

"The one thing we are hoping for is improvement. Anything less than that would be a disappointment."

Dublin's League campaign brightened the mood. Wins came against Derry and Clare.

Defeats, narrow ones, came against Cork and Kilkenny.

"We felt the Cork and Kilkenny games slipped away from us, but there were still plenty of positives there.

"Last season, Cork beat us by a very big margin, but it didn't happen this time. People around the country might have been surprised by how close it was, but we weren't.

"We were looking forward to a cracker of a game, and it was the same going into the Kilkenny match.

"I don't think teams will be taking Dublin for granted. And we are all hoping it will be a long summer.

"I'm absolutely delighted to be part of it. It's such a professional set-up."

And Sile has seen the sport bloom and grow.

"The Camogie Association have put in huge efforts. More and more people are being drawn to camogie.

"The ground work is being done, and it will bear fruit in the coming years."