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Davis brace for assault on Birr

THERE'S a Birr in the month in more ways than one these days on the foothills of the Dublin Mountains.

Tallaght won't be using much electricity next Saturday, but they will be stocking up on the petrol for their trip to Offaly.

They will play Claregalway in the Tesco All-Ireland Intermediate Championship final at St Brendan's Park (1.30).

Saturday night also marks the gala ball that will mark the 125th birthday of Thomas Davis. They'd love to have All-Ireland gold on the top table.

Yet that is easier written than done. Claregalway are a highly accomplished side. And there is a strand of history between the two clubs. They met in the All-Ireland Junior Sevens two years ago, and in their semi-final this month, Claregalway beat Boherbue, the Cork team that the Dubliners defeated in last year's All-Ireland Junior final.

"In trying to get to back-to-back All-Ireland finals, we knew we had to bring something extra to the table," comments Stephen Bates, managing the TDs with Niall Kelly and Mary McGrath.

"We have worked hard on our fitness over the last two years. And we realised we had to push things on from last season. A big help was playing senior football in Dublin. We faced a battle every time we went out.

"We have quickly progressed from the junior grade to senior. Now we are in the top flight of the senior league and also the senior championship. To finish third in Division 1 was a bit special. And to get to another All-Ireland final is unbelievable."

Davis moulded a handsome victory over Glen of Derry in the semi-final. "The girls were really up for that match. From the minute the ball was thrown in, you could see the intensity that they brought to the game.


"Glen are a lot better than they showed that day. We knew we had to take it to them from the start. We didn't let them get comfortable on the ball."

Thomas Davis would like to enjoy a similar sharp start in Birr. "It reflects well on Dublin football that the county is again represented in an All-Ireland final. Everybody knows that whoever comes out of Dublin is going to be strong."

The Dubliners are hoping that they will have the strength to once again secure the All-Ireland jackpot.