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Ruddy central to Dubs' aims

RACHEL RUDDY is a champion defender. A decorated All-Ireland winner and All Star. Her temperament comes straight from the fridge.

She does the job simply, and well. No fuss. Containing her opponent, nipping in to win possession and then giving the wise pass.

She enjoyed brilliant Boden days. She grew up with a role model in her midst, Fiona Ní Chorcoráin.

"I always admired Fiona. And it was great to then get the chance to play alongside her. In football and camogie, she has always been a hero to me."

Now, it's Rachel who is signing the autographs after the Dublin matches. She'd love to see the sport prosper even more.

She is happy to witness the women's rugby team secure the headlines, television and radio time, and have the thrill of playing at Twickenham and Lansdowne Road.

Home

The Jackies feel at home in Parnell Park.

"It's a boost to get the opportunity to play there. It's a big honour.

"We played Cork there last week and it was lovely to see the kids out cheering us on with their flags and their drums. They helped create a nice atmosphere," Ruddy said.

Rachel would cherish the chance to return to Parnell Park again – in the Tesco Homegrown Division 1 League final!

But it's one bounce at a time. And so far, so good.

"Things are going well. We are where we want to be," she adds.

"We are still unbeaten. We could have beaten Cork the last day, but we'll take the positives from it into our remaining two matches against Tyrone (away) and Laois (home)."

Everybody wants to be part of the adventure. "The training is intense. It's terrific to see everybody pushing each other so hard."

Playing for the Blues means commitment. The girls are keen to meet the call. And like their rugby colleagues, the proof of their toil is seen on the grass and in the league table.

"People realise that, when they look at the likes of the women's rugby on the television, that it is such a high standard. It's good that the word is out there, that women's sport is such a great spectacle. And hopefully now we'll see that more and more."

Dublin and Cork produced a corker the last day. And not for the first time.

The fitness and skills on parade showed how much the sport has travelled.

Rachel has been central to the journey. And she is enjoying the trip more than ever.


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