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U16s 'well prepared' for Model County challenge

IT was Michael Collins who gave Dublin camogie their grounds in the Phoenix Park. "I only found that out recently," explains Pat Martin.

Pat is a busy man. He's the camogie county chairman. He's also managing the Dublin U16s.

Next weekend, the young Dubs will host Wexford in the Leinster U16 Championship.

"We are delighted that the game is taking place in the Phoenix Park. There's so much camogie history there," adds Pat. Last season the brilliant Blues created their own slice of history – All-Ireland U16 champs for the first time in 30 years.

Around a dozen of that squad are eligible again. Pat is optimistic. "They have been doing their work in the gym and out on the pitch. They will be well prepared.

"The strength and conditioning training of Philly McMahon will be very beneficial. I think we'll have a good season." Pat salutes his managerial colleagues – Barbara Grennell, Michael Ward, Fiona McCarthy and his own wife, Sharon.

Valuable offerings have also come from Eve Talbot, Nollaig Ryan, Mark McManus, Brian Lawlor and Colette Coady.

"The girls have been working on all aspects of their game – fitness, speed, first touch and all the other skills.

"Wexford will be a good test. It's good to be back at it again, so hopefully things will go well.

"It's very encouraging that we have two squads, an A and a B. That reflects the talent that there is in Dublin now.

"The County Board feel that we need a 'B' team to give these players the platform to help them develop.

"It's the same structure in the minor grade. And that means that next year we'll have a large batch of players going through to the adult ranks."

As the fixtures begin to appear over the hill, the capital supremo is relishing the challenges, on and off the pitch.

"It's a privilege to be Dublin chairman. It's a terrific role. I have met so many new people. It's very enjoyable.

"Dublin camogie is a good place to be right now. It's a very positive environment."