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Final chapter in Davis romance

GETTING to the All-Ireland final was not in the Thomas Davis script. The possibility never even entered their heads.

But next Saturday they'll be in the Tesco All-Ireland Junior Championship final against Cork's Boherbue in Birr (1.30).

"To be honest, we never even thought about Leinster," admits manager, Stephen Bates, running the side with Niall Kelly and Mary McGrath.

"Dublin was the only thing we were concerned with. Winning the Dublin championship was our goal at the start of the week.

"And that was certainly enough for us because we haven't enjoyed the best of luck in the Dublin championship over the years.

"We have been near enough, but we got to the stage where we felt that there was a bit of a hoodoo on us when it came to the county championship."

All those thoughts were firmly banished this season when the Tallaght side produced a polished performance to defeat Lucan Sarsfields in the final.

A big crowd came to see them create that slice of history in the most convincing manner. And, suddenly, Thomas Davis had a Leinster campaign to plan for.

"It's been brilliant. The girls have gone on a fantastic run. Once we won the Dublin title, the confidence seemed to grow."

And so has the interest on the Kiltipper Road. The club turned out in huge numbers for last week's semi-final win over Galway's Annaghdown.

That was a big occasion, but for Stephen the most impressive quality of the squad was their focus in the week of the build-up.

"We had a league play-off with Kilmacud Crokes on the Tuesday before the All-Ireland semi-final, and I have to say that was the best preparation we could have had.

"The girls were so focused. They put the All-Ireland semi-final to the backs of their minds and they went out and beat Crokes, who had already beaten us twice this season."



Comfort

That professional approach carried through to the All-Ireland semi-final which the Dubs won in some comfort.

"We had done our research on Annadown. We knew any side coming out of Galway had to be decent, and we were well aware that we were playing the Connacht champions.

"They had a few top players and we knew we had to curtail them. We couldn't let them get a grip on the game."

Fitness has been a key ingredient in the campaign. That was in no doubt in that semi-final triumph.

"We'd have three sessions a week. There's at least 24 girls at each of those sessions. Everybody is fighting for their place.

"Nobody's place is safe. And that is what has kept the winning spirit going. All the girls that have come off the bench in the matches have done well."

And now the Kiltipper Road is about to take flight. All-Ireland final day is always special.

"The committee, the whole club, the community have all got behind us. It's been tremendous. The club pulled out all the stops for the semi-final. All the kids turned up to see their coaches playing. The girls have been an inspiration. They have brought the sunshine back."


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