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Classy Jackies ready to leave Laois in knots



(Naomh Mearnóg, Tomorrow, 1.0)

THEY last met on April's Fools Day. Nobody was laughing.

Laois arrived in Portmarnock needing a win to book a Bord Gáis Energy Division 1 semi-final place. Dublin beat them by three points. Laois threw everything but the Malahide Estuary at the home defence.

Former Laois Lion, Joe Higgins, is the Laois boss. Last year, they reached the Division 1 final. In 2010, they were involved in a pulsating All-Ireland Championship semi-final in Carlow as Dublin emerged on their way to take ultimate glory.

Last week, Dublin were also tested by Kildare in the preliminary round at Hawkfield. Dublin came through with seven points to spare.

Sinead Goldrick was magnificent, Cliodhna O'Connor made a world-class save, Niamh McEvoy struck a picture goal when it was most needed, and Sinead Aherne added a few more points to her collection.

That outing will serve Dublin well, but Peter Clarke and co fully realise that Laois won't be travelling to the seaside for the ice-cream and strawberries.


Kingdom set to give Dubs blues

AISLING McGING ALL-IRELAND FINAL DUBLIN v KERRY (McDonagh Park, Nenagh, Tomorrow, 5.0)

KERRY'S Amanda Brosnan is teaching in London. She is flying back for the final.

Dublin were flying after their semi-final victory over Cork in Glanworth. Hannah Tyrell and Sinead Deegan got the goals. It's the first time since the competition began that Cork won't be in the final.

Cork have been champions five times; Dublin once in 2010, when the present senior boss, Peter Clarke, was in control.

The Senior Bs chief, Pat Stritch, is thrilled with the commitment of his squad. The Kerry panel have been at the manufacturers for three years.

They have already beaten the Dubs in the group stage, and everybody else as well, including a whopping semi-final win over Meath in Killarney.

Kerry have been hitting high scores, but the Dublin spirit is a major plus. Cork have also defeated the Blues in the group stage, but if Dublin can re-produce their semi-final heroics, they will be well in the frame.