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Kingdom next litmus test for Mac's Dubs

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NOELLE HEALY

NOELLE HEALY

NOELLE HEALY

DUBLIN manager Greg McGonigle anticipates his team will need to play to their full potential when they face Kerry in their TG4 All-Ireland Football Championship quarter-final in this Saturday afternoon. in St Brendan's Park, Birr (12.30).

The Dublin boss has impressed since taking over the reins from Paul Gilheaney last December but he's well aware that the competition will get tougher after his side's seamless progression through Leinster, that culminated in a facile victory over Laois in the provincial decider.

TARGET

"I think you have to look at it like a new competition. Our target at the start of the year was to reach a league final, win Leinster and win an All-Ireland quarter-final and we are on target for that at present.

"If we manage to get over the line on Saturday, we will have ticked off another box of where we want to go and if we are lucky enough to beat Kerry, we will then sit down and reassess where we are.

"It hasn't been made easy and we have a very tough draw in Kerry but we just have to get our heads down and plan for their challenge but our injury situation should be clearer by then.

"We had a decent enough performance against Kerry in the league, in what was our first day out, but Kerry were missing a few big players that day and we certainly wouldn't be reading too much into that result.

"Obviously, both sides have improved since then and the fitness levels are far higher of course.

"The only thing we do know is that Kerry are going to be a formidable side.

"They were Munster champions in 2013 and All-Ireland finalists the previous year.

"The last day out, they kicked 1-22 against Donegal and they showed how prolific they can be from outside the 'scoring zone' so we are well aware that we'll need to defend well.

"Any team that beat Cork last year is obviously a serious 
outfit and we know that we are up against it but hopefully we are well prepared and looking forward to trying to get the win.

"We have played well to date and had a reasonably decent league campaign but we know that Kerry is a step up and the scores we have managed to put up in Leinster are probably unlikely to occur as you play opponents of higher quality," stressed McGonigle.

"They didn't give much away with their blanket defence so that is something that we will need to work on in training over the coming days and how we will manage to break them down," said the former Monaghan boss.

Despite the heartache that accompanied Dublin's last three quarter-finals, McGonigle does not expect his team to share any psychological hang-ups from those defeats.

LOSSES

"I wouldn't pay any attention to what has happened in recent years and we may only have eight or nine players who were involved in those losses. To me, we are in a great place. We are very fit and we have girls who are flying with confidence after winning the All-Ireland U21 title and they are pushing the more senior players hard for places.

"If people are talking up this team, that's obviously a positive from my perspective. However, to me it is just about the next game and one thing that keeps the girls grounded is that nobody is guaranteed a starting place.

"We have great hunger in the panel and the girls are chomping at the bit in training but we need to focus on winning our quarter-final first and taking it from there," said McGonigle.


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