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Hungry Dubs eyeing Lilies scalp

LEINSTER lift-off in Carlow. The rocket launched from Dr Cullen Park.

No trace of astronaut Chris Hadfield or David Bowie with their Space Oddity, but in the homely Dr Cullen, the Dubs have been over the moon many times.

They beat Meath in the Leinster final there last summer. The Blues begin business this year with a Leinster Championship semi-final against Kildare on June 30.

Dublin will be at home. They were away last June when they beat Kildare in the semi-final at Hawkfield. Kildare asked a few Vincent Browne-like questions.

Being the Leinster leaders has become a habit for the Dubs. It wasn't always so.

They claimed their historic first title in 2002. Willie Lillis, Mick Bohan and Anne O'Mahony led Dublin to the Promised Land.

It was a huge breakthrough. It filled the city's lungs with confidence. Dublin went on to complete the four-in-a-row, and they came within a lick of paint of landing the big one in the big house.


Then came a Leinster three-in-a-row that led to the first All-Ireland crown in 2010. But the spark was set on that July day in 2002. Dublin beat Laois by 0-14 to 0-8. Síle Nic Coitir hit eight of the Dublin tally.

Dublin's brilliant half-back line read: Gemma Fay, Orla Colreavy and Niamh McEvoy. Angie McNally and Martina Farrell were named in midfield. What a formidable pairing that was.

Laois had a few icons of their own – Tracey Lawlor, Sue Ramsbottom and Lulu Carroll. TG4 had a big advert on the back page of the programme. It proclaimed: 'Woman United.'

Between 2001 and now, only Dublin and Laois have lifted the Leinster chalice. The Royals were last in the big time in millennium year when they completed four titles on the bounce.

This year's Leinster final will take place on a Saturday (July 13). Pablo's Pupils hope to be there.

DUBLIN 2002 Leinster champions Starting 15: Suzanne Hughes (Ballyboden St Enda's); Orla Smith (Ballyboden St Enda's), Lorraine Roche (St Mark's), Tonya Allen (Ballyboden St Enda's); Gemma Fay (Ballyboden St Enda's), Orla Colreavy (Naomh Mearnog), Niamh McEvoy (Parnell's); Angie McNally (Ballinteer St John's), Martina Farrell (Ballyboden St Enda's); Louise Kelly (Ballyboden St Enda's), Sile NicCoitir (Ballyboden St Enda's), Mary Nevin (Na Fianna); Elaine Kelly (St Brigid's), Aisling McCormack (St Mark's), Christina McGinty (Thomas Davis).

2002 Leinster final squad: Shauna Harris (St Mark's), Joanne O'Sullivan (Ballyboden St Enda's), Louise Keegan (St Brigid's), Elaine Murphy (St Brigid's), Michelle Stafford (Garda), Maria Kavanagh (Round Tower Clondalkin), Emma Redmond (Round Tower Clondalkin), Catherine Roche (Round Tower Clondalkin), Martina Morris (St Mark's), Julie Kavanagh (Garda), Sorcha Farrelly (Ballyboden St Enda's), Karen Kennedy (Naomh Mearnóg), Lisa Morris (St Mark's), Niamh Hurley (Man O War).